FAA Reauthorization Bill to Increase Safety in the Skies

FAA - image courtesy of faa.gov
image courtesy of faa.gov
Written by Linda Hohnholz

Last year on June 9, 2023, Rep. Sam Graves submitted House Bill 3935 to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for the reauthorization of the FAA.

The report was amended by the Committee on July 11 and passed the House with a vote of 351 yeas to 69 nays on July 20. On May 9, 2024, the Senate passed the bill with 88 yea votes against 4 nays. The bill now goes to President Biden to be passed into law.

This important bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as the National Transportation Safety Board through Fiscal Year (FY) 2028. Activities and programs included in the bill are related to airport planning and development, facilities and equipment, and operations.

As far as increasing safety in the skies, the bill directs the FAA to increase air traffic controller hiring targets and establishes a workforce development program to support the education, recruitment, and retention of aviation professionals.

The bill also establishes an FAA Ombudsman to coordinate the response to submissions of inquiries or objections relating to issues such as aircraft certifications and registrations, pilot certificates, and operational approvals, waivers, or exemptions.

Also included are minimum qualifications for mechanics and other workers abroad who work on aircraft registered in the United States.

The reauthorization bill also gives the FAA more jurisdiction to handle civil penalties when it comes to unruly passengers who verbally abuse or inflict physical violence on flight attendants and other aircraft personnel versus leaving all cases to be handled by the district courts. Standards for basic security training is also to be established so flight attendants are better able to handle unruly passengers in the first place.

The bill authorizes more than $105 billion in appropriations for the FAA through FY 2028 for airport improvements and operations through September 30, 2028, including US$66.7 billion for key safety programs. The reauthorization bill also addresses air traffic controller shortages by requiring the FAA to implement better staffing standards to help fill thousands of vacant positions.

It is expected that the bill will be signed into law by President Joe Biden before the Friday deadline.

WTNJOIN | eTurboNews | eTN

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About the author

Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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