The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation voted June 29 to advance FAA reauthorization legislation. Unlike a House bill that was approved by committee on June 28, the Senate legislation, which AOPA backs, and which was approved by voice vote, does not include the privatization of air traffic control.
AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker said, “AOPA supports the Senate FAA Reauthorization legislation, which would preserve the integrity of the safest and busiest airspace in the world, allow local airports to continue to contribute to the economy in small towns across America, give pilots common sense protections, and addresses the important role airports play in emergencies.”
The Senate bill also included an amendment introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) that would relax the 1,500-hour rule for commercial airline first officers, subject to FAA approval. The amendment was a win for regional airlines who have lobbied lawmakers for years to amend the regulation.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a pilot and AOPA member, said the Senate legislation is “a win” for general aviation.
“It provides much needed investment in aviation infrastructure, includes strong protections for pilots and will provide long-term certainty for all aviation stakeholders. As a pilot myself, I worked closely with GA leaders to ensure that their voices were heard in this bill,” said Inhofe.
Inhofe also thanked AOPA for advocating for pilots in Washington. “AOPA has consistently been a strong voice advocating for pilots and the General Aviation community on Capitol Hill. I appreciate all of their engagement in support of the FLIGHT Act and other legislative priorities of their members,” said Inhofe.
In a recent call to action, AOPA urged its nearly 350,000 members to write and ask the representatives to oppose privatization.