The House of Representatives is expected to consider a six-year FAA reauthorization bill the week of April 23. Dubbed H.R. 4, the legislation addresses many safety and technology reforms, but it makes no mention of so-called air traffic control privatization.
The revised bipartisan bill has found much more support among Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster’s (R-Pa.) colleagues sans ATC “privatization.” H.R. 4 was introduced by the entire leadership of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its six subcommittees including Shuster, Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), and Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-Wash.).
The legislation would direct the FAA to establish a task force composed of representatives from GA aircraft owners, operators, labor, and government to assess the oversight and authorization processes and requirements for aircraft under Part 91. The task force would be required to make recommendations to streamline the processes and reduce regulatory cost burdens and delays. The FAA would be required to implement the recommendations of the task force no later than 18 months from the date the bill is signed into law.
Under H.R. 4, the aircraft registration office would be exempt from closure in the case of a government shutdown. The legislation also seeks improvements on privacy including guidance on pilots and operators who want to block their N-number from real-time public flight tracking.
“H.R. 4 includes important provisions for general aviation and prioritizes investments in our nation’s airports, and we look forward to working with the House and Senate as we move through the legislative process,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We also strongly support provisions included in the Senate FAA reauthorization bill that would bring needed and long-overdue reforms to the current funding program for our small and rural airports, and designating certain airports across the country as disaster-relief airports to help coordinate relief efforts, as well as encouraging public-private partnerships to help ensure that our nation’s airport ecosystem remains strong and vibrant.”
The Senate FAA reauthorization bill is awaiting action by the full Senate. Once both bills have cleared their respective chambers, a House-Senate conference committee will meet to iron out the differences.