House Approves Another Short-Term FAA Extension; Lipinski Says Congress Needs to Pass a Comprehensive, Long-Term Solution (July 12, 2016)
The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday extending FAA policy and funding through September of 2017. The final bill contains provisions to protect passengers and enhance aviation security, including legislation that will shorten security lines at airports while maintaining safety by optimizing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staffing. It also includes language from Congressman Dan Lipinski’s (IL-3) bill requiring refunds for baggage fees if passengers’ bags are delayed.
“Airline passengers deserve to be treated with fairness and respect,” said Rep. Lipinski. “Simply put, if you pay for a service, you should get that service promptly or get your money back. During consideration of the House’s FAA bill, I was a strong advocate for requiring that fees be refunded for baggage that is lost or delayed. This legislation will ensure that passengers who don’t get their luggage on time will be fairly compensated.”
The bill passed by the House this week also addresses accommodations for air travelers with disabilities, family-seating accommodations, and enhances medical protections for pilots. In addition, it expands a research program designed to detect and identify unmanned aerial systems (UAVs or drones) flying close to airports.
“We’ve heard many stories about planes encountering drones during their normal flights, and this cooperative research program will help prevent collisions or accidents,” said Lipinski. “The FAA has also announced that the FBI will be working with industry and academic stakeholders to research ways to detect ‘rogue’ drones operating in the vicinity of airports. As co-chair of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, I strongly support integrating UAVs into the national airspace system while ensuring the safety of flights for all users.”
Since work began on the 2012 FAA Reauthorization, Lipinski has also worked continuously to reform the aircraft certification process, and was the lead Democratic cosponsor of the Small Airplane Revitalization Act in 2013. Streamlining the certification process would accelerate getting the product to market, ultimately strengthening job growth and stimulating economic activity.
“Aviation is an increasingly global marketplace,” stated Lipinski. “To compete in this arena, domestic manufacturers must certify their product with the FAA which can take time to achieve. Then they have to work to facilitate acceptance of the equipment by the buyer’s respective aviation authority. In recent years, American manufacturers have encountered significant delays during this process. These delays have serious economic consequences for the small and medium sized businesses that make up the multi-billion dollar aviation supply chain. House and Senate members have worked with stakeholders to craft bipartisan solutions that would directly translate to tangible economic benefits across the entire industry, but these reforms were unfortunately not included in the extension that was approved this week.
“On the whole, the bill passed by the House is a good bill, but much work remains to be done. In the coming months, Congress needs to continue to focus on passing a comprehensive, long-term FAA reauthorization to maintain America’s leadership in the global aviation industry. I am hopeful this is the last short-term extension.”
The FAA’s current short-term extension is set to expire July 15th. The bill now moves to the Senate.