Markups for the 2023 FAA reauthorization bills begin this week, and language from both the House and the Senate is pointing to the most forward-thinking FAA legislation in history in support of general aviation.
An FAA reauthorization bill has never been so GA focused, and thanks to an initiative by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) to bring more attention to the sector, current House language includes the first GA title within an FAA reauthorization bill.
A major focus of AOPA during the reauthorization process has been ensuring that GA pilots can park their aircraft at fair and reasonable rates and without being required to pay for FBO services they never asked for or used.
On June 7, Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) introduced the General Aviation Airport Access Act (S.1847), a bill that would require federally funded public-use airports that impose fees to provide fair and reasonable rates for parking transient GA aircraft, and prohibit FBOs from charging pilots for services that they don’t use or want.
“As a general aviation pilot, I’ve seen and heard from aviators who have experienced sky-high charges for airport services that they don’t need,” said Budd. “Affordable services should be available to all pilots, including small planes. I’m proud to introduce a bill to increase access for more pilots to afford to utilize more airports.”
AOPA has rallied nearly 600 aviation organizations to support the General Aviation Airport Access Act in an effort to include it in this year’s massive FAA reauthorization bill.
“Addressing this issue is long overdue, it’s more than fair, and it’s the right thing to do. These are public-use airports and public-use doesn’t mean being required to pay egregious FBO fees at some airports or being required to pay for something a pilot didn’t use or want,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Senator Budd and Chairman of the House Transportation Committee Sam Graves are both pilots, they fully understand the situation.”
Since conversations began earlier this year on the FAA reauthorization, AOPA has been a key advocate to make GA a priority. In March, Baker testified before the House Aviation Subcommittee hearing on "Securing the Future of General Aviation."
In his testimony, Baker addressed the designated pilot examiner shortage, AOPA’s High School Aviation STEM Curriculum, and the urgent need for GA hangars before pressing on the need for transient ramp access at public-use airports.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from pilots about this,” Baker said. “I’ve been in business all my life and I’ve never known anyone that charges a customer for services a person never wanted or asked for.”
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will both consider their own versions of the FAA reauthorization bill this week.
AOPA looks forward to working with both chambers on the FAA reauthorization and ongoing priorities.