Senate approves FAA Reauthorization bill

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On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, providing funding for the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board for the next five years.

Sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX), Aviation Subcommittee Chair Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS), the legislation sets the national priorities for the FAA and NTSB. Priorities include strengthening aviation standards, growing the air traffic controller and safety inspector workforce, implementing safety technology on runways and in cockpits, as well as giving flyers new rights to hassle-free refunds, not-fee family seating and improved accessibility, as well as higher fines for airline consumer violations.

“The American people expect and deserve the safest, most reliable and modern aerospace system in the world and this landmark bill is intended to deliver just that. Our bipartisan legislation sets clear priorities to strengthen aviation safety standards, implement new safety technology, hire more Air Traffic Controllers and safety inspectors, give passengers a guaranteed right to a refund, advance innovation and modernize our air travel infrastructure nationwide. With tonight’s overwhelming vote, we are one step closer to getting this bill onto the president’s desk,” Cantwell said.

The legislation was widely supported by America’s aviation community, including pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, aerospace workers, airports, manufacturers and more. Many of the groups spoke out in favor of the legislation. Congressmembers negotiated for months over the legislation before presenting it to committee members in April.

“After 14 months of negotiations and several extensions, the Senate came together to pass a long-term FAA Reauthorization poised to not only address the current demands of the aviation industry, but also the future ones,” Moran said. “Thank you to my colleagues Sen. Cantwell, Sen. Cruz and Sen. Duckworth for their partnership and tireless work to balance the priorities of the FAA, the aviation community, its academic partners and the flying public. This long-term reauthorization demonstrates our commitment to aviation safety, innovation and excellence.”