Senate and House negotiate bill to help FAA

Congressional negotiators have agreed on a bill designed to assist the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by adding more air traffic controllers and safety inspectors. This agreement aims to improve the safety of air travel after a series of close calls between planes at the nation’s airports12.

Federal Aviation Administration logo
Federal Aviation Administration

The bill, which is a $105 billion measure, will govern FAA operations for the next five years. It includes provisions to increase the number of air traffic controllers, require the FAA to use new technology designed to prevent collisions on runways, and prohibit airlines from charging extra for families to sit together. However, some consumer protections proposed by the Biden administration were left out2.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure soon, and if passed, it will be a significant upgrade to air traffic controller hiring, which has not seen major changes in decades2. The FAA is currently operating under a temporary authorization that expires on May 10, and Congress might need to pass another extension if there are delays in the bill’s passage.

This legislation comes at a crucial time as the FAA has been under scrutiny since it approved Boeing jets that were involved in two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019. The bill also addresses other issues such as the training and retirement age of pilots, with negotiators deciding to keep the mandatory retirement age at 652.

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