With the FAA’s current authority due to expire on July 15, the US House has passed an extension until September 30, 2017 without any opposition. It is hoped that in the forthcoming months, areas of contention will be resolved regarding what some, including A4A (Airlines for America), see as the agency’s regulatory overreach through proposals made in the failed FAA reauthorization bill.
The current extension has included a few regulatory add-ons which generally relate to airport security and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), but the most contentious issues, ATC (air traffic control) and consumer protection have been purposely avoided.
Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman had previously backed the proposed FAA reauthorization legislation which would have seen the removal of ATC from the FAA, is quoted as saying that the extension to September 30, 2017 “provides stability to our aviation system over the next 14 months and includes limited but critical and time-sensitive provisions to improve aviation safety and security.”
Rep. Peter DeFazio (Oregon), the committee’s ranking Democrat, said that “While I would have rather moved a comprehensive long-term FAA reauthorization, this legislation reflects a bipartisan compromise that provides more than a year of certainty and includes a number of time-sensitive safety and security provisions that will better protect our nation’s airspace and air travelers.”
Nicholas Calio, President and CEO Airlines for America (A4A), approved the passage of the extension, while urging Congress to “remain focused on reaching a long-term, comprehensive FAA bill that improves the flying experience for their constituents, rather than taking a step backward by attempting to re-regulate airline pricing and services,” adding that “Our nation’s ATC system is riddled with challenges that Congress must address before we face a crisis. This extension will provide the additional time needed to work toward that goal.”
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