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Committee Approves Transformational Air Traffic Control & FAA Reform Bill

Washington, DC, February 11, 2016 | Jim Billimoria, Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today approved legislation that establishes an independent, not-for-profit corporation outside of the federal government to modernize America’s air traffic control (ATC) system and provide air traffic services.

H.R. 4441, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, introduced by Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), provides a number of reforms to our aviation system, and upholds the FAA’s role as the Nation’s aviation safety regulator. The bill was approved by a vote of 32 to 26.

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The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today approved legislation that establishes an independent, not-for-profit corporation outside of the federal government to modernize America’s air traffic control (ATC) system and provide air traffic services.

H.R. 4441, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, introduced by Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), provides a number of reforms to our aviation system,  and upholds the FAA’s role as the Nation’s aviation safety regulator.  The bill was approved by a vote of 32 to 26.

“The AIRR Act provides the transformational reform necessary to bring our antiquated air traffic system into the modern era, and allow America to lead the world again in aviation,” Shuster said.  “The Committee considered approximately 75 amendments during today’s meeting, and more than half of them were approved.  Today’s open process led to many improvements to the legislation, and I look forward to moving ahead.”

“The robust debate during today’s committee markup brought bipartisan improvements to the AIRR Act looking to address inefficiencies and shortcomings of our current aviation system.  I applaud Chairman Shuster and my colleagues for their unwavering commitment to keeping our skies safe,” LoBiondo said. 

Under the AIRR Act, the federally chartered air traffic control corporation will be governed by a board representing the aviation system’s users and the public interest.  The comprehensive reauthorization bill also streamlines the FAA’s aviation equipment and aircraft certification processes, provides additional improvements for consumers, addresses aviation safety issues, gives the FAA more tools for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems, and provides for airport infrastructure improvements across the country.

The legislation recognizes that maintaining the status quo will result in more setbacks and soaring costs of failed federal ATC modernization efforts, a bureaucracy that continues to stifle American innovation, and a system that is incapable of handling growing demand. 

Establishing an independent ATC provider has become the standard across the world, and the United States is one of the last industrialized nations yet to do so.  Other countries have benefited from safety levels that have been maintained or improved, successful modernization of their ATC systems, improved ATC services, and generally lower ATC service costs.  The AIRR Act seeks to move U.S. aviation into the modern era and beyond.

More information about today’s markup, including amendments approved and recorded vote information, will be posted here as soon as possible.

Click above for a video on the AIRR Act, an information packet and summary of the legislation, and the bill text

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Tags: Aviation