The FAA Reauthorization Act is starting to take shape, with welcome news coming out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.  According to a press release, they have produced a bipartisan bill that balances Democrat and Republican Priorities.  The bill, which is officially titled “The Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act,” checks in at a whopping 773 pages

According to Subcommittee Ranking Member Larsen, the bill represents a “good faith bipartisan compromise that creates a safer, cleaner, greener, and more accessible U.S. aviation system. It transitions the nation to more sustainable fuels, makes a historic investment in the resiliency of our country’s airports, implements key safety measures, and bolsters accessibility and consumer protections for all passengers.” 

According to the official summary prepared by the Subcommittee, the Bill:

Improves FAA Efficiency and Operations: The bill makes targeted changes to the organizational structure of the FAA to improve overall efficiency of the agency, allow for innovation, and streamline the regulatory process. The bill does so in a manner that will not harm the FAA’s ongoing efforts while simultaneously ensuring the agency is better organized to lead in an advanced aviation future.

Strengthens America’s General Aviation (GA) Sector: Most of our aviation professionals, including pilots and mechanics, get their start in GA. This bill recognizes that the success of the United States aviation system is built upon a strong GA foundation and includes the first-ever general aviation title to secure our aviation industry’s long-term success.

Grows the Aviation Workforce: Our aviation system is experiencing a shortage of qualified workers, including pilots, mechanics, and air traffic controllers. This bill addresses workforce challenges by removing barriers to pursuing aviation careers, expanding the aviation workforce pipeline, improving training standards, and more.

Invests in United States Airport Infrastructure: Airports connect our communities, create jobs, and drive economic growth. The bill authorizes robust funding for airport infrastructure, including prioritizing investments for small and GA airports, and streamlining project delivery.

Upholds America’s Gold Standard in Safety: America’s aviation system is safe, but the system is not immune to stress and must continually be made safer. The billaddresses several safety issues, including the recent uptick in runway incursions, to ensure the United States, and the FAA, remain the world’s gold standard in aviation safety.

Encourages Aviation Innovation: America has been a leader in aviation innovation. Unfortunately, due to bureaucratic hurdles, endless research, and pilot programs that are not leading to the development and incorporation of new technologies, China and other countries are beginning to surpass the United States. The bill encourages the safe yet more efficient testing and integration of new technologies, such as drones and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), into the airspace.

Enhances the Passenger Experience: While many parts of the aviation system typically function without incident despite a growing volume of travelers, one weak link in a trip can ruin a passenger’s experience.  The bill delivers reforms that will enhance the experience for the traveling public.

Authorizes the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB): As the independent Federal agency responsible for investigating all civil aviation accidents, in addition to accidents in other modes of transportation, the NTSB plays an important role in transportation safety. Last authorized in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, this bill provides updates to the NTSB’s authorization.

While the reauthorization is clearly off to a good start, it is still just the first step.  No doubt the bill will be subject to change as it goes to the full House for a vote and then is reconciled with whatever the Senate puts together. 

Finally, just a reminder to watch this space, as we will schedule a 90-minute free webinar to go through the reauthorization in detail once it is sent to the President for his signature.  For anyone who wants to look through the entire text of the Bill, it can be found HERE.