NATA Welcomes Passage of House FAA Reauthorization Bill

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) applauds the U.S. House of Representative’s approval of H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, by a vote of 351-69. The bill reauthorizes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs for the next five years while making significant improvements to the agency’s operational efficiency, oversight of aviation safety, commitment to innovation, investment in aviation workforce, and more.

“Throughout the legislative process, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act has remained focused on consensus policies that improve the safety, security, efficiency, innovation and sustained success of our nation’s aviation ecosystem. I commend House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R, MO), T&I Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D, WA), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (R, LA), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D, TN) for their commitment to a timely, bipartisan process and support of consensus policies,” says NATA president and CEO, Curt Castagna.

H.R. 3935 contains extensive improvements to the FAA’s organizational structure and regulatory processes, addressing inefficiencies while providing increased opportunity for agency/industry collaboration. NATA welcomes the bill’s review of rule-making processes and creation of an ombudsman to provide impartial dispute mediation, as well as several NATA-proposed provisions to improve certification and continued regulatory oversight of Part 135 charter operations. In addition, H.R. 3935 recognizes the general-aviation (GA) sector’s vital national role by including the first-ever GA title, which makes critical reforms to FAA services for the GA sector, including aircraft registration and designated pilot examiners.

The bill’s authorization of increased investment in physical infrastructure and human resources will help secure a sustainable aviation industry and the workforce to support it. An almost 20% increase to Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding and AIP eligibility for unleaded-fuel infrastructure answers NATA’s call for continued modernization of the nation’s general-aviation airports, a tripling existing Aviation Workforce Development Programs for future pilots and aircraft mechanics — as well as establishment of a complementary program for aerospace manufacturing — will help industry meet the needs of an ever-growing and innovative aviation landscape.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously passed H.R. 3935 on June 14 after two days of debate controlled by a “big four agreement,” which limited amendments to those jointly approved by Chairs Graves and Graves and Ranking Members Larsen and Cohen. Last week, more than 300 amendments were submitted to the House Rules Committee in advance of today’s floor debate, including multiple provisions harmful to the safety, sustainability and success of NATA’s member companies.

“NATA offers sincere appreciation to House leadership, the House Rules Committee, and leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for halting several divisive proposals that posed grave concerns for the safety of the National Airspace System, security of our nation’s airports, success of aviation businesses, and the vital interstate commerce they facilitate,” Castagna continues.

Ahead of floor consideration, the Rules Committee halted NATA-opposed amendments to erode federal preemption over the NAS as solidified by the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA), limit service to diverse communities provided by public charter operations, and prevent safe access to aviation fuels during the national transition to unleaded fuel. In addition, the House Rules Committee rejected the Obernolte-Cartwright amendment, which — in contrast to the discretion airports have today to provide public ramps — would have created a national mandate that all public-use airports provide subsidized parking for transient private aircraft and required fixed-based operators (FBOs) to allow free access in many cases.

“NATA appreciates our member companies who visited Capitol Hill in June to advocate for the interests of a broad array of aviation businesses and general airports, including Part 135 charter operators, fixed-based operators, and others. We also thank the many members who engaged with their elected officials over the past month and encouraged them to reject these dangerous provisions,” says Castagna.

With House passage of H.R. 3935 complete, attention will shift to the Senate Commerce Committee’s deliberation of its FAA reauthorization legislation. The current FAA authorization will expire on September 30 of this year.

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