The US Senate has passed the sweeping five-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill sending the measure to the White House for signature and enactment which is expected to be considered by 7 October.
The vote culminated a four-plus-year process that involved six short-term extensions, several versions of the bill, hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill, dozens of hearings, and one of the most contentious debates surrounding the future of the air traffic control organization.
The process led to bipartisan legislation that passed the House last week by a 398-23 vote and the Senate by 93-6 and has broad industry support. The bill provides for long-term funding for the FAA, up to $96.7 billion through to October 2023.
It includes numerous issues of importance to the aviation industry, from certification and regulation to the enabling of the future of supersonic travel and the facilitating of an emergence of a range of new electrical and autonomous systems.
Unveiled jointly by House and Senate leaders on 22 September, the compromise bill, the Aviation, Transportation Safety, and Disaster Recovery Reforms and Reauthorization (H.R.302), also includes NTSB and TSA reauthorizations.
Airlines for America (A4A) president and chief executive officer (CEO), Nicholas E. Calio hailed the agreement: “The legislation provides long-term certainty, which is critical toward maintaining a safe and affordable travel experience for consumers in communities across the country and throughout the world.
“The Senate Commerce Committee leadership – along with their staffs – should be commended for achieving a long-term bill that protects the interests of both the traveling and shipping public, as well as the more than 700,000 workers in the commercial aviation industry.”
American Airlines chairman and CEO Doug Parker said: “American Airlines commends Congress for passing a bipartisan, multiyear FAA bill that will provide needed certainty, enhance safety, and help us better serve our team members, customers and airports throughout our network.”