PASS on the FAA Reauthorization Bills

PASS welcomes the introduction of both the Senate and House versions of FAA reauthorization legislation this week but sees limitations with the House bill.

The House- and Senate-introduced legislation both include a 5-year authorization: the House for $103 billion, and the Senate for $107 billion. The bills are being marked up this week and will have to be reconciled before going to the president’s desk for his signature. The FAA’s current five-year reauthorization expires on September 30.

The union fully supports the Senate FAA reauthorization bill which includes several PASS-initiated provisions that National President Dave Spero discussed in his testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Strengthening the Aviation Workforce, on March 16.

“I’m pleased the Senate’s bill took into account the concerns we have about staffing levels within the workforces we represent,” said President Spero. “The agency is expecting to do more for the National Airspace System with less. And that is not sustainable.”

The Senate bill includes an audit of FAA workforce plans to ensure proper staffing. It also includes a provision to revise the safety model for aviation safety inspectors, include a facility staffing level, and encourage managers to use the revised model. Once the model is revised, the bill directs the FAA Administrator to take all appropriate actions in response to the number of aviation safety inspectors, aviation safety technicians and operation support positions that such a model determines are required. The legislation also includes a pilot program to insource work to PASS-represented employees in Technical Operations to expedite the installation of instrument landing systems. The bill also includes language to allow the industry to share its technology with FAA employees to better understand the technologies they oversee.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has a provision to conduct an aviation safety workforce assessment, but the provision is not as comprehensive.

“We are encouraged by the progress made on FAA reauthorization and look forward to working with Congress to get our member priorities in the final conferenced bill,” said Spero. “The U.S. has the largest, safest and most complex air traffic control system in the world and the dedicated public servants who maintain and certify it need the proper resources.”

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