Schumer Sees Sound Bite Opportunity, Responds Predictably
The general aviation community has
come to know US Senator Charles Schumer as an opponent of small
aircraft operators. Perhaps it will help to know the New York
Democrat is also a thorn in the side of the US Department of
Back in December, DOT announced a series of measures aimed at
avoiding a rerun of last year's summertime airline delays. One of
the cornerstones was a cap on hourly operations at Kennedy and
Newark, as ANN reported.
Now, Newsday reports DOT's own inspector general predicts the
caps won't help. "...[H]istory shows that caps do not necessarily
translate into a significant reduction in delays or an increase in
airline on-time performance," the report, issued last week,
Like a moth to flame... or, well, a politician to a
microphone... Schumer seized on last week's report to make
headlinesm of his own.
"This report spells serious trouble for New York City air
passengers this summer," the bombastic senator said. "This report
proves what we have been saying all along -- we need to take broad,
concrete steps to overhaul our aviation system, not half-measures
The senator says the FAA should consider reopening military
airspace to passenger flights, as it did during last year's holiday
season, and act on dozens of Port Authority recommendations for
improving area airports.
DOT spokesman Brian Turmail put at least part of the blame on,
"Congress' continued failure to act on needed reforms," including
funding for new air traffic control technology. In other words,
user fees are the required fix.
Turmail also criticized policies that, "discourage airlines from
setting schedules that are unrelated to the capacity of local
airports." He added the department is already working with the
military to arrange for additional airspace this summer.