The FAA’s new reauthorization bill was approved by both the House and the Senate over the last few weeks, and now has passed the final hurdle—the president’s signature—to become the new law of the land. The bill provides $90 billion in funding over five years, making it the longest-term FAA bill since 1982. GA advocacy groups welcomed the new law, noting several GA-friendly provisions—no user fees, no ATC privatization, and insurance protections for volunteer pilots conducting charitable flights. The bill also removes some restrictions on designated pilot examiners that should make it easier for pilots to schedule checkrides.
In a statement posted online, the FAA said the bill “delivers a safer, more secure and efficient aviation system to the traveling public and helps fuel economic growth and competitiveness.” It will strengthen the FAA’s infrastructure and maintain U.S. leadership in innovation, the FAA said, adding: “We applaud the House and the Senate in crafting a bipartisan bill, and with its signing, the FAA is ready to get to work on the bill’s key provisions.” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi also welcomed the bill. “The five-year reauthorization is a key part of providing long-term stability for the FAA, which NATCA has advocated for over the last several years,” he said in a statement. “It supports air traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term modernization, preventative maintenance, ongoing modernization of the physical infrastructure, and maintaining services to all segments of our nation’s diverse aviation community.”