April 28, 2016
Today, CEI, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), and CEI employee Gordon Cummings, as a private individual, filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) recent regulation extending the existing statute prohibiting smoking aboard aircraft to cover electronic cigarettes. The reason is simple: Congress never gave regulators the power to prohibit e-cigarette use aboard aircraft.
The agency is inventing authority it clearly does not have. Congress granted USDOT power to implement its law under ...
April 6, 2016
Guest Post by David Grizzle
Former Chief Operating Officer and Chief Counsel, FAA
As the former chief operating officer and chief counsel at the FAA, I saw how the lack of modern technology hampers us from more effectively routing the 2 million people who fly every day. We are one of the few remaining developed countries in the world that relies on paper strips and outdated technology like ground-based radar to direct the most technologically advanced planes the world has seen.
We have a historic opportunity now to reform air traffic control to enhance safety, provide a steady and reliable funding stream for high-tech projects, and improve the flight experience for consumers. Imagine knowing with certainty when you arrive at the airport for your weekly flight home that you won’t be delayed because of bad weather in another part of the country...
April 5, 2016
Last month, I wrote about why everyone should be disappointed by the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill: it fails to include key air traffic control reforms contained in the House’s AIRR Act and threatens the nascent small unmanned aircraft research and entrepreneur communities with onerous manufacturing regulations (Section 2124).
Apparently undeterred by the bill’s fundamental weaknesses, Senate leadership is poised to move forward with a floor debate. Things are likely to get worse, as the Senate has once again indicated it has little interest in passing needed...
April 1, 2016
Capital Research Center, a conservative policy group in Washington, D.C., recently published an extended essay, “PATCO’s Revenge: Capitol Hill cronyism may give the air traffic controllers what they always wanted,” by Steven J. Allen. Allen alleges that the House’s AIRR Act air traffic control title—which spins off air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration into a new independent nonprofit ATC Corporation described in more detail in this CEI report—contains labor provisions that would allow the air traffic control union to legally strike, something currently prohibited under federal law. However, Allen’s frightening thesis is built upon a fundamental misunderstanding of federal labor law and the reforms...
March 16, 2016
This morning, the Senate Commerce Committee held a markup hearing on their Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S. 2658). A couple of positive unmanned aircraft system (UAS) amendments—a drone delivery amendment from Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and one from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) ...
March 9, 2016
The AIRR Act (H.R. 4441), the FAA reauthorization bill in the House, contains badly needed reforms of U.S. air traffic control. See my FAQ on what this reorganization is all about. Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate, or score, of the AIRR Act. It concludes that the bill would add $19.8 billion to the deficit through 2026. Before conservatives blow a gasket on this supposed budget buster, note that the CBO report relies on some nonsensical assumptions to derive this misleading figure.
CBO assumes aviation taxes will remain the same following the spinoff of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization into the new independent nonprofit ATC Corporation. This is because the House Ways...
March 4, 2016
CEI is a strong supporter of transportation user fees. We prefer tolls over fuel taxes, and local airport user fees over tax-funded federal grants. While there is broad agreement among free market transportation researchers on these points (see Reason Foundation, Cato Institute, and Heritage Foundation on why airport user charges are preferable to broad taxation), some conservatives fail to...
February 24, 2016
To date, CEI’s analysis of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R. 4441) has largely focused on proposed air traffic control reforms, which CEI strongly supports. But the House’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization plan covers much more than air traffic control corporatization. This series will highlight non-ATC elements of the bill that should either be supported, improved upon, or discarded from a free market, limited-government perspective. The first entry covers the local airport user fee called the passenger facility charge (PFC). This second entry covers unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)....
February 22, 2016
To date, CEI’s analysis of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R. 4441) has focused on proposed air traffic control reforms, which CEI strongly supports. But the House’s reauthorization plan covers much more than air traffic control corporatization. This series will highlight non-ATC elements of the bill that should either be supported, improved upon, or discarded from a free market, limited-government perspective. The first entry covers the local airport user fee called the passenger facility charge (PFC).
The AIRR Act shows little love for PFC modernization. This is not surprising, given that House leadership has largely focused on air traffic control corporatization, which is an...
February 15, 2016
To anyone following this policy battle, the Times editorial reads like it was written by Delta Air Lines, the sole airline opposed to the deal, even relying on debunked claims about Nav Canada contained in a recent “study” produced by Delta lobbyists. Linking to a Delta press release...