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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Complaints Spur Gulf of Mexico ATC Changes


Following congressional concerns and the intervention of FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, an FAA contractor set up revised procedures to address complaints of Gulf of Mexico operators that their communications needs were getting short shrift.

Their complaints stemmed from the shutdown of some automatic flight service stations and the privatization of others as part of a plan under which the FAA shifted management of those facilities to Lockheed Martin. The Gulf operators said air traffic services in the region were suffering as a result of the changes.

They and the Helicopter Assn. International complained to local members of Congress, which led to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and five Republican congressmen from Louisiana to call on Blakey to address the matter. The five were Reps. Rodney Alexander, Richard Baker, Charles Boustany, Jr., Bobby Jindal and Jim McCrery. As a result, Lockheed set up a dedicated phone line to handle requests from Gulf operators at the Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center.

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