Federal agencies Legislation Unions Air Transportation

FAA funding bill a big win for airline safety, union leaders say


Washington — Aviation labor unions are applauding the safety provisions included in a bill, recently signed into law by President Joe Biden, that reauthorizes funding for the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a press release, Biden calls the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935) “a big win” for the aviation workforce. He adds that it will “expand critical protections for air travelers; strengthen safety standards; and support pilots, flight attendants and air traffic controllers.”

The bill, which secures federal funding for FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board through Sept. 30, 2028, includes numerous priorities backed by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and Air Line Pilots Association, International. Among them:

  • Maintaining a 1,500-flight-hour training requirement for pilots
  • Creating a rulemaking committee related to requiring secondary barriers for existing passenger aircraft
  • Updating pilot mental health protocols 
  • Strengthening protections for flight crews cooperating with accident and incident investigations
  • Providing and reviewing emergency medical kits aboard aircraft
  • Updating self-defense training for crew members
  • Commissioning a National Academies study on radiation exposure on commercial aircraft 
  • Enhancing runway and airport alerting systems

“We can’t overstate the importance of action on this five-year funding and priority plan for our national air transportation system,” AWA-CWA President Sara Nelson said in a press release.

Nelson adds that the development enables the industry to progress “with staffing and training for critical safety jobs like air traffic controllers and FAA safety inspectors” while covering “other safety critical issues.”

ALPA President Jason Ambrosi said in a separate release that the law “addresses runway and airport near misses, maintains rigorous pilot training standards, and ensures that the United States remains the global leader in aviation safety.”

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