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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

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Reauthorisation strengthens and advances the FAA
NBAA, NATA, GAMA and VAI applaud the final passage through Congress of comprehensive legislation addressing business aviation issues. Next step, the President's signature.

US business aviation associations have welcomed the congressional passage of a comprehensive measure to reauthorise the FAA for five years, offering appreciation to the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for carefully crafting a comprehensive bill that balances the needs of all users of the national airspace system.

The final passage of the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (HR 3935) was overwhelmingly approved by the US Senate and now the US House of Representatives in a 387-26 vote.

The bipartisan, bicameral legislation provides the FAA clear direction to maintain the gold standard in aviation safety during a time of both immense innovation and immense pressure on the national airspace system. Final passage of the bill comes ahead of the 17 May expiration of the current short-term authorisation.

The bill contains a first-ever general aviation title, a key section of the legislation focused on enhancing safety, streamlining regulations and improving certification processes for general aviation aircraft, supporting certification for advanced air mobility powered-lift aircraft and other technologies, and protecting flight privacy.

Other welcome aspects include numerous process and protocol improvements for the FAA office of aerospace medicine, including pilot mental health and the removal of barriers for those seeking aviation careers while expanding the aviation workforce pipeline and improving training standards.

"We are very pleased to see this important and historic legislation, after many months of work, advance to President Biden's desk to be signed into law," says NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. "Both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the Capitol, have come together and passed a bill that reflects the business aviation community's priorities, provides a long-term roadmap for the agency and ensures that America will continue to lead the world in aviation safety, security, sustainability, innovation, workforce development and investment in airports and other critical infrastructure."

"The FAA's current certification backlog and lack of timely check pilot and aircraft conformity functions inhibit the growth of NATA's aviation business members while creating barriers to legitimate new industry entrants and increasing the risk of illegal charter activity. HR 3935 addresses these concerns, reflecting the advocacy of NATA and our members on FAA policies to increase efficiencies, ensure consistency and safely maintain the continuum of certification and conformity for Part 135 and 145 operations," says NATA president and CEO Curt Castagna.

GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce says: "It is vitally important for the entire aviation ecosystem to finally have Congress pass a long-term FAA reauthorisation bill. The final bill contains many of the important provisions that GAMA strongly advocated for throughout the process, including during our Capitol Hill Day last week, when our board members met with over 120 lawmakers while the Senate was finalising the bill. Overall, the bill supports safety, innovation, infrastructure investment, sustainability and the aviation workforce.

"Key provisions include establishing a new Assistant Administrator for Rule-making and Regulatory Improvement, requiring a review of the rule-making process to reduce bureaucratic delays, strengthening the current workforce development grants for pilots and maintenance technicians by including eligibility for manufacturing workers, furthering air traffic and airport operations through pilot programmes for mobile delivery of air traffic clearances and electric aircraft infrastructure, fostering future improvements in certification and production oversight, expanding sustainability research programmes and following through on initiatives focused on a safe transition to unleaded Avgas. It will also increase the effectiveness of aviation safety bilateral agreements to support the acceptance of safety enhancing technologies and new products including advanced air mobility.

"It has been a long journey to get to this point, and we are thankful for the hard work of Representatives Sam Graves, Rick Larsen, Garret Graves and Steve Cohen, and Senators Maria Cantwell, Ted Cruz, Tammy Duckworth and Jerry Moran, and their staff, to build the bipartisan support to get this bill across the finish line. The final bill will help strengthen the FAA and facilitate the general aviation sector's future path towards increasing levels of safety, innovation and transportation options for communities of all sizes."

"We commend Congress for passing an FAA reauthorisation bill that represents a substantial investment in the future of aviation," says James Viola, president and CEO of Vertical Aviation International (VAI), formerly Helicopter Association International. "This legislation strengthens safety and paves the way for new airframes and technologies to reach the flight line while promoting economic growth and job creation.

"VAI collaborated extensively with legislators to ensure that the bill includes measures to effectively tackle the shortage of pilots and maintenance technicians, streamline regulatory processes to facilitate the advancement of advanced air mobility and implement policies to support and promote vertical aviation. Overall, these initiatives will strengthen our industry and foster innovation and efficiency."

The US House of Representatives passed its FAA reauthorisation bill in July 2023, but debate over certain provisions in the US Senate version of the measure delayed a vote in that chamber until just recently. The bill moved back to the House for reconciliation and final passage ahead of the 17 May expiration of a fourth extension to the FAA authorisation package passed in 2018. It now heads to President Biden's desk for his signature.

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