Federal Eye: Final FAA-Weather Service Decision Delayed Again

The Federal Aviation Administration has extended by one month a deadline for the National Weather Service to deliver recommendations on changing the FAA’s use of government meteorologists at its air route traffic control centers.

In an “all-hands” e-mail to NWS employees today, director Jack Hayes wrote that, “Before we proceed with delivery of our final response to FAA, the new NOAA Administrator needs an opportunity to address the CWSU matter. FAA has agreed to extend our response deadline for another 30 days.” (Full e-mail after the jump.)

The Bush administration had hoped to resolve the controversial matter in its final days, asking NWS to present alternatives to the current system of basing at least four meteorologists at each of the 21 air route traffic control centers. Realizing a resolution was unlikely before Inauguration Day, FAA in late December extended NWS’ deadline until today.

“During the Senate confirmation hearing for NOAA Administrator nominee Dr. Jane Lubchenco, aviation weather support activities were raised,” Hayes wrote in his e-mail. “Dr. Lubchenco was encouraged to work with FAA to resolve any outstanding issues.”

Indeed Senate Commerce, Science and Transportration Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) asked Lubchenco during her Feb. 12 confirmation hearing to help try to resolve the FAA-NWS dispute upon her confirmation.

“I don’t know the details of this issue,” she told Rockefeller. “I appreciate that it is an important one and I would look into it.”

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