Today Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and his colleagues in the House of Representatives voted (393-13) to approve the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R.4).  The bill funds the FAA at $104.17 billion annually through 2023.

Prior to the vote Higgins spoke on the floor urging Congress to uphold the safety standards implemented by Congress following the crash of Flight 3407, “In 2010, Congress approved landmark flight safety legislation after the flight of 3407 crashed outside of Buffalo, New York in 2009.   The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that pilot error was the cause of that tragedy. The Southwest Airlines emergency landing two weeks ago is an urgent and inspiring reminder of the importance of pilot training to keep the flying public safe.  The Southwest pilot Tammie Joe Shults piloted that plane to a safe landing in a calm, controlled and confident manner borne out of one thing – excellent pilot training.”

The legislation:

  • Includes $3.35 billion annually for the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which funds critical airport infrastructure construction
  • Reauthorizes the Essential Air Service Program, which subsidizes air service to rural communities
  • Takes steps to ensure air travel is more accessible for people with disabilities by requiring the Department of Transportation to address airplane restroom accessibility, study in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems and mandate accessibility-specific issues training for airline crew members
  • Increases mandatory rest standards for flight attendants from as little as 8 hours currently to 10 hours
  • Calls for medium & large hub airports that receive federal funds, to make private rooms available for nursing mothers
  • Requires that airlines make available a one-page document detailing passenger rights regarding compensation for delays, lost baggage, and overbooking
  • Prohibits airlines from bumping passengers once they have boarded the plane
  • Sets minimum dimensions for passenger airline seats

The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration.