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Senate advances FAA reauthorization

AOPA backs bill

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.

The Capitol is home to the U.S. Congress and its House and Senate governing bodies, which have influence over general aviation. Photo by David Tulis.

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.”

Referring to the House bill, Baker said, “Handing over our air traffic control system to the airlines would add up to $46 billion to the deficit, increase costs for all travelers, disproportionately hurt rural America and general aviation, and create a too-big-to-fail institution requiring taxpayer bailouts. I encourage everyone to call their representatives in Congress and tell them to vote against H.R. 2997, the 21st Century AIRR Act.”

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.

Joe Kildea

Joe Kildea

AOPA Senior Director of Communications
Joe is a student pilot and his first solo flight was at AOPA’s home airport in Frederick, Maryland. Before joining AOPA in 2015, he worked for numerous political campaigns, news organizations, and the White House Press Office.
Topics: Advocacy, Capitol Hill, Pilot Regulation

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