Time is ticking for lawmakers to pass a long-term FAA reauthorization bill, and aviation groups are expressing their frustration. In an Aug. 15 letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), AOPA and 32 other organizations urged leaders to move quickly before the agency’s funding expires on Sept. 30.
In the letter, the groups pushed lawmakers to act expeditiously in order to maintain the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world, writing, “The U.S. aviation sector supports nearly 11 million jobs and contributes $1.6 trillion in economic activity. The aerospace industry needs dependable authority from the FAA and policymakers to continue to provide the highest level of service for aviation customers and meet the needs of the aviation industry and workforce.”
“Long-term FAA funding is desperately needed so that the United States continues to be the world leader in aviation safety and security. The traveling public, communities, airports, and aviation stakeholders are all dependent on the passage of this bill, and we encourage Senate leaders to act swiftly,” AOPA President Mark Baker said.
In April, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of an FAA reauthorization bill, H.R. 4, which would allow funding for five years and did not include the previously proposed controversial provision to remove ATC from the FAA and give it to a board dominated by airline interests. But with only 43 days left to pass the Senate reauthorization bill, aviation groups are becoming increasingly concerned there is adequate time for House and Senate negotiators to reach a final conference agreement before the Sept. 30 deadline.
Along with AOPA, the following groups signed the letter: Aeronautical Repair Station Association, Aerospace Industries Association, Airlines for America, Air Line Pilots Association, Air Medical Operators Association, Air Traffic Control Association, Aircraft Electronics Association, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Association of Flight Attendants, Aviation Suppliers Association, Aviation Technician Education Council, Cargo Airline Association, Commercial Drone Alliance, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Global Business Travel Association, Helicopter Association International, International Air Transport Association, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Modification and Replacement Parts Association, National Air Carrier Association, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Business Aviation Association, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association, Regional Airline Association, Small UAV Coalition, Travelers United, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.