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EAA Strongly Supports Senate FAA Reauthorization Bill
Legislation contains long-awaited reforms for GA and no ATC privatization
June 29, 2017 — The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Thursday unanimously passed a bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill that contains many positive reforms for general aviation pilots, aircraft owners, and airports, fully recognizing the importance of general aviation to the nation’s infrastructure and economy. It will now continue moving toward the Senate floor for a full vote.
EAA supports the legislation (S. 1405), which would provide a four-year reauthorization of the FAA and its programs and does not contain the ATC privatization language offered in the House 21st Century AIRR Act. The Senate bill, introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), is broadly supported in a bipartisan manner and among many provisions includes:
- All provisions of the FLIGHT Act introduced this month by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) that improves GA airport funding flexibility and recognizes building an aircraft for recreational purposes as a protected aeronautical activity under the FAA grant assurances.
- The remaining provisions of Inhofe’s Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 that were omitted when aeromedical reform was passed in 2016, including due process improvements for FAA enforcement actions.
- Reform of the process for certifying general aviation products and addresses other regulatory barriers to manufacturing and maintenance organizations.
- Language that gives the FAA authorization to conduct a broad fleet authorization for potential future unleaded fuels under the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI) program in which EAA is actively participating.
- Exempts aviation events and air shows from fees and charges for government-funded services, such as air traffic control, that have been levied in recent years by FAA.
“This bipartisan Senate bill recognizes that general aviation is an equal partner in the nation’s air transportation system and points the way to making the FAA more effective,” said EAA CEO and Chairman Jack J. Pelton. “It also recognizes that the current U.S. air traffic control structure is already the safest and most efficient in the world, ready for modernization without wholesale transformation and disruption that would come with privatization.”
Although the bill does not currently contain provisions for ATC privatization, there could be pressure to include such provisions as a floor amendment. EAA is encouraging members and others in the GA community to contact their senators and tell them to stay on the right course with this legislation. The easiest way is through EAA’s Rally Congress website that allows members to send communications directly to lawmakers.
EAA’s advocacy team is continuing to study the Senate measure in detail and will communicate additional information to our members as that work progresses.