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.