The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation (the “Senate Commerce Committee”) introduced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2023 (the “Senate draft”) on June 12, 2023. In parallel, the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (the “House T&I Committee”) introduced on June 9, 2023 and approved on June 14, 2023 the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, H.R. 3935 (the “House draft”). The two bills bear similar but different approaches to the FAA’s budgeting and reform. Both the Senate and House drafts will reauthorize the agency for the next five years and provide new guidance and standards for the FAA, airlines, and the aviation workforce.
The Senate draft authorizes more than $107 billion in appropriations for the FAA between fiscal years 2024 and 2028. $67.5 billion will go to safety programs, including aircraft certification reform, air carrier oversight, and staffing safety professionals, such as air traffic controllers and technical engineers. $18.2 billion will fund the modernizing of key technologies, systems, and equipment. $20 billion will go to airport improvement grants. $1.8 billion will fund FAA research, engineering, and development. The Senate draft also reforms consumer protections and aircraft accessibility. Senator Maria Cantwell, the Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, explains that the Senate draft “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.” A more detailed summary may be found here.
The House draft attempts to improve the FAA’s efficiency by altering its organizational structure. The draft also seeks to strengthen America’s General Aviation sector and will address workforce shortages by removing barriers to aviation careers, expanding the aviation workforce pipeline, and improving training standards. Like the Senate draft, the House draft reforms consumer protections, facilitates innovation, and provides funding for airport infrastructure. Unlike the Senate draft, the House bill includes revisions to the National Transportation Safety Board. The House and Senate have not yet given a date for a conference committee to reconcile the drafts, though they aim to have a reauthorization bill passed before the current FAA authorization expires in September.
Established in 1999 and based in Washington, DC, TWG has a lengthy record of providing technical assistance to civil aviation authorities (“CAAs”) worldwide, including but not limited to the CAAs of India, Panama, Cabo Verde, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Trinidad and Tobago. In all, ten FAA Category 1 ratings have been issued to TWG IASA technical assistance clients to date – a 100% track record. TWG also regularly assists foreign air carriers with obtaining the US government approvals needed for US air carrier operations and foreign repair stations with securing FAA certification required to maintain US-registered aircraft.
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