WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, announced that a number of her aviation priorities passed the Commerce Committee as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act.
“Americans deserve safe, dependable, and efficient air travel service. This bipartisan bill includes several provisions I worked on to improve our whole aviation system by boosting workforce training, modernizing technology, strengthening consumer protection, and updating safety standards. This vote in the Senate Commerce Committee brings us one step closer to ensuring that our aviation transport is better, stronger, and safer than before,” said Klobuchar.
Klobuchar successfully included:
- The Aviation Workforce Development and Recruitment Act, Klobuchar’s bipartisan bill with Senators Jerry Moran’s (R-KS), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Thune (R-SD), and others, to address aviation workforce shortages by boosting resources to help recruit and train pilots, aviation manufacturing workers, and mechanics.
- The Families Fly Together Act, Klobuchar’s bill with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), to require airlines to allow children to sit together with their family members on flights at no additional charge. Under current law, parents who want to confirm a seat next to their children – including young infants – are often required to pay extra fees for advance seating, purchase more expensive tickets, or simply rely on the kindness of strangers. This will help keep kids safe while traveling and provide parents with much-needed peace of mind.
- Two amendments to improve runway safety and prevent runway incursions. These amendments direct the FAA to ensure commercial planes are equipped with state-of-the-art technology that would nearly eliminate the risk of runway collisions. These include technologies to detect nearby planes on the runway and alert pilots to help them avoid collisions, as well as technologies that help pilots determine the required landing distance for a safe landing.
- An amendment with Senators Duckworth, Lujan, and Warnock to require the FAA to revise and implement improved air traffic control staffing standards to better address staffing shortages and meet increasing demand.
- An amendment with Senator Cantwell to extend eligible expenses for 529 plans, allowing them to be used to pay for flight and aviation maintenance programs certified by the FAA. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged account that can be used to pay for the qualified education expenses including tuition, room and board.
Last year, Klobuchar announced that her bipartisan legislation to help prevent FAA system outages was signed into law. The NOTAM Improvement Act requires the FAA to establish a task force to strengthen the resiliency and cybersecurity of the NOTAM system, which alerts pilots of safety and location hazards on flight routes. The law now requires the FAA to upgrade the NOTAM system and create a backup system by September 2024. The bill followed the January 2023 NOTAM system outage that grounded flights nationwide, and was sponsored in the House by Rep. Stauber (R-MN) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA).