Aviation Unions Demand Action On FAA Funding

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The latest short-term FAA funding extension runs out on Sept. 16, and on Wednesday, several aviation union groups held a news conference at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., to demand a long-term reauthorization bill. "We cannot continue to function with this band-aid approach to aviation funding and safety," said Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association. "It is time to get serious and put the safety of aviation in the United States ahead of partisan politics." Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Association for Flight Attendants, and the Allied Pilots Association also attended the event. Members of Congress are returning to Washington this week after a summer break.

If Congress cannot resolve its stalemate, then the agency may face another partial shutdown next Friday. Various issues have stalled efforts to agree on an FAA funding bill, including disputes over subsidies to rural airports and language that would make it easier for workers to unionize. In late July, the funding snafu forced the agency to lay off about 4,000 employees for about two weeks, and 70,000 contract workers also were affected as projects at about 200 airports were put on hold. The FAA has not had a long-term funding bill since 2007.