US House introduces bill to address FAA inefficiencies

A committee in the US House has introduced an FAA Reauthorization Bill
T. Schneider /  

The United States (US) House of Representatives Transport & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) has introduced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill, reauthorizing the FAA to work for the next five years. 

“For over a century, the United States has led the world in aviation safety and innovation, but our ‘Gold Standard’ status is being threatened by increasing global competition, rapid developments in technology, a shortage of aviation professionals, and FAA’s own inefficiency,” said Sam Graves, a Republican from Missouri, the Chairman of T&I.  

Ranking members of the T&I, namely Rick Larsen, a Democrat from Washington, T&I’s Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves, a Republican from Louisiana, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, worked on the bill. 

According to the T&I’s summary, the FAA Reauthorization Bill will: 

  • Improve the efficiency and operations of the FAA 
  • Strengthen the General Aviation (GA) sector 
  • Address pilot, mechanic/engineer, and air traffic controller (ATC) shortages 
  • Secures investments for US airports 
  • Upholds current US aviation safety standards 
  • Encourages innovation in aviation 
  • Updates the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) authorization to work on safety-related investigations 

“This legislation would provide long-term certainty for the U.S. aviation industry and the National Airspace System in addition to the millions of travelers and shippers who rely on airlines to transport passengers and packages every day,” read a statement by Nicholas Calio, the president and chief executive officer of Airlines For America (A4A), on June 13, 2023. 

Meanwhile, Regional Airline Association (RAA) president and CEO Faye Malarkey Black added that the association “wholeheartedly supports this bill”, as it provides long-term certainty for the US aviation industry. 

“This legislation will help improve aviation safety by ensuring that pilots working towards their Air Transport Pilot certificate (ATP) will be able to build a portion of their 1,500 flight hours utilizing the very same training technology used by commercial airline pilots,” Black added.  

However, not everyone is happy with the bill, including the families of the victims of the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash. The group, which unites relatives of the 51 people who lost their lives in the 2009 crash, expressed “concern that some key components of the bill will weaken the First Officer pilot qualifications which were established in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2010 and have been pivotal in reducing commercial airline fatalities in the US”.  

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