FAA Reauthorization Legislation Introduced


Legislation to reauthorize the FAA has been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. On the Senate side, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 was sponsored by Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Ranking Member Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Aviation Subcommittee Chair Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Moran, R-Kan. The House bill, called the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, was introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., with full Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen, D-Wash., Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves, R-La., and Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., co-sponsoring.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (PDF) incorporates provisions for modernizing the National Airspace System (NAS), improving customer protections for airline passengers and expanding air travel service. It also looks to grow the aviation workforce, improve safety, fund airport infrastructure projects and continue research and development for innovative aviation technologies. In addition, the bill has provisions for improving aircraft accessibility for people with disabilities.

“The bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Act will help get the air travel system soaring again by improving safety and service,” said Sen. Cantwell. “The bill provides funding for the latest safety technology on runways, and to hire more air traffic controllers, pilots, and mechanics. The bill also sets the first-ever clear ticket refund standards for delayed flights and will penalize airlines that sell tickets on flights that they don’t have the staff or technology to operate.”

The Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (PDF) includes provisions designed to improve FAA efficiency and operations, provide airport infrastructure funding and reauthorize the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). As with the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023, it also lays out plans aiming to grow the aviation workforce, encourage testing and integration of new technologies, improve the airline passenger experience and address safety issues such as runway incursions. In a first for such legislation, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act includes a title specific to general aviation.

“For over a century, the United States has led the world in aviation safety and innovation, but our ‘Gold Standard’ status is being threatened by increasing global competition, rapid developments in technology, a shortage of aviation professionals, and FAA’s own inefficiency,” said Rep. Graves. “Our bipartisan legislation will improve critical infrastructure for airports of all sizes, streamline the FAA bureaucracy, strengthen the nation’s general aviation sector, encourage the more rapid deployment of safe technological innovations, and address workforce challenges throughout the aviation system.”

As written, each bill covers more than $100 billion in appropriations and would reauthorize the FAA through 2028. The agency’s current authorization expires on Sept. 30. Prior to becoming law, the reauthorization legislation will need to be voted through by the House and Senate and signed by the president.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Anyone know how many pilots and how many ATC controllers there in the 45,000 employees of the FAA?

  2. Hi Kate, thanks for your news article, you write nicely.

    I am “just a pilot”.

    Fact is – sadly – the FAA is run by arrogant, ignorant humans possessing too often only minimal core aviation safety values. Individuals who fail to establish in their own minds the principles, etc., needed to do their job properly? Can a case be made that ALPA’s senior leadership is different? Or is the AA and SWA unions leadership as is ALPA’s too? (For how many of them had a representative at Mark Forkner’s trial on 21 Mar 2022? Were you there by the way?

    Tamar Thompson formerly (Feb-Aug) FAA Anchorage CMO Front Line Manager at the Denali CMO said to me in April 2010 – “John, when you go to the FAA Academy in OKC, do not expect college quality training, the FAA does not provide that.” Hum…a department of over 40,000 employee does not provide college quality training? Yet oversees the world’s largest aviation endeavor? Was that true coming from a 20+ year FAA management Veteran?

    Ms. Thompson sure hit the nail on its head I was to learn. And Kate, why is that?

    Maybe those are a few of many questions needing answers and then, correction back on track? Answers which are not being provided professionally by our FAA, FBI and DOJ? And why is that?

    Know who Karlene Petitt is? Ever read her PHD thesis on aviation safety?

    Know how weak and ineffective the AIR.21 law is?

    Know what the mission is of the OSC or even what that acronym stands for?

    I think such points, or questions are in need of true answers for to me they are the tip of an iceberg lurking hidden under the surface of a sea of aviation incompetence?

    Remember Frank Lorenzo? Who unleashed him and others of his kind on our world?

    Can you connect the dots as to why those innocent, trusting 346 souls had to die in a horrendous manner in the two max crashes? INCOMPETENTCE…?

    covey42@gmail.com “Just a Pilot”

    • Having worked with the FAA for almost 25 years, the annual training they make DER/UM’s go through is lacking. I have t seen a new course come out in years. It used to be great to go to the yearly training and see others in the field, folks I had interacted with and at folks I worked with at other companies. The move to on line training took all that away and made for no new content. So yes, the FAA Academy is lacking in content.

  3. The FAA does not have many active pilots that only fly for the agency. Most operations ASIs (aviation Safety Inspectors) have pilot licenses in the FSDOs and the CMOs, but rarely fly.

    ATC is the largest of all the 7 units in the FAA.

    It would be nice if the FAA would fund my “Operation Slingshot” proposal that is published in the Purdue University “National Aviation Symposium” proceedings. This symposium was held at Purdue University last November 8-10.

      • You can try and contact the Purdue University School of Aviation and Transportation Technology (SATT) and/or the Purdue University Press, 706-494-9967. They might be able to get you an electronic link or how to acquire a paper copy. There may be access through the library of Congress; the ISBN number is: ISBN-13: 979-8-218-95299-0

  4. The airlines will need more money from their customers to do any “soaring”,after they are forced to reimburse some of their customers

  5. My takeaway: According to Rep. Graves, our aviation safety and innovation ‘Gold Standard’ status is under threat, global competition has learned to fly better, technology is advancing too fast for us to keep up, and we just can’t find enough aviation professionals! On top of that, he is blaming the FAA itself for being inefficient while aiming to streamline the FAA bureaucracy, bring in new talent, fix airports, invigorate GA and “address workforce challenges throughout the aviation system” by finding ways to attract and train more pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and other professionals to meet the demands of the growing aviation sector. Yet, they can’t find a competent FAA Administrator?

    • Right there with you, Raf. If words were deeds, all their fancy language might actually accomplish something. But, what do we actually get for our $100 BILLION dollar investment? Rep. Graves frets about the US losing our leadership position to other countries, but what has the FAA actually done to help us retain our “Gold Standard” status? Over ten years of roadblocks and obfuscation over an unleaded 100 octane avgas. The 737 MAX debacle. Taking years to review and approve even simple STC applications or other minor changes or upgrades for GA aircraft. Totally fumbling the part 23 rewrite. Failing to do anything to update the LSA design standards to make them more viable. And, yes, failing to find a competent FAA Administrator. If Congress thinks throwing (a lot) of money at this problem will solve it, we will be in this same mess the next time it comes up for reauthorization in 2028. Maybe it’s time to take a really hard look at the FAA and try to fix some of its systemic problems, starting with an Administrator that understands what’s at stake.

      • “Totally fumbling the (2016) part 23 rewrite (Primary Aircraft Category).”

        SLOWLY I turned … STEP-by-STEP … INCH-by-INCH … !!!!!

        This ALONE would have greatly ameliorated the current IA shortage …

  6. IMHO – The FAA should have nothing to do with the retail side of aviation, that should be the job of the DOT. To have the FAA decide what passenger refunds should look like is a joke, their job is managing the NAS and ACS with an emphasis on SAFETY. Please, please, separate the functions to their respective TLAs (three letter acronyms)