Off with his head. That is the recommendation of the Business Travel Coalition, where chairman Kevin Mitchell is again gathering his members’ wrath and preparing to call for Bobby Sturgell’s head. The latest impetus in his demand for the resignation of Sturgell (right)from his temporary leadership of the FAA – along with other unspecified FAA leaders – is the revelation that the FAA had failed to perform over 100 safety checks at major US airlines. The inspections, part of ATOS, the Air Transportation Oversight System, are system checks of the way in which the airlines collect data and analyze it; they include engine-monitoring and pilot-training. The ATOS checks in question are five-year checks that became mandatory last year. Mitchell, whose group is composed of corporate travel managers, is also running a member poll on airline consolidation; he recently testified against the Northwest/Delta merger. His group is working with Teamsters on legislation that would compel tightened FAA inspections and oversight of outsourced maintenance, especially overseas airline maintenance.
When word of the 100 delayed safety reviews came out (via The Wall Street Journal’s follow-up of April hearings), Mitchell (left) renewed his members’ interest, and began a poll asking if the FAA’s top leadership should resign. Mitchell had made a call for Sturgell’s resignation earlier, and said then that the nation “could not afford the stop-and-go type of leadership that the FAA had shown,” with strict interpretation of the rules one month, grounding American and other airlines and then falling back on its older, laxer attitude. He explains, “The industry can’t keep up with up it; neither can the administration; they can’t afford the embarrassment that it will bring.”