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Higgins announces House approval of 5-year FAA re-authorization

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the House of Representatives has approved a 5-year re-authorization (H.R. 302) of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"After several years of temporary extensions, this long-term re-authorization of the FAA provides considerable peace-of-mind in knowing the hard-fought achievements delivering one level of safety to the flying public, although never assured, are better protected for years to come," said Congressman Higgins.

Earlier this week Congressman Higgins stood with the families of Flight 3407, calling for adoption of a long-term FAA re-authorization bill that maintains a number of flight safety improvements fought for following the 2009 crash of Flight 3407 and included in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act authorized in 2010.

The legislation passed by the House this week preserves key measures gained through the advocacy of the Flight 3407 families requiring greater transparency for travelers and additional rest time and training requirements for pilots.

Other highlights of the 5-year FAA authorization legislation which improve safety and address consumers rights include:
  • Prohibiting the involuntary bumping of passengers from flights after their boarding passes have been collected or scanned;
  • Directing the FAA to set minimum dimensions for passenger seats, including pitch and width;
  • Establishing a new "Aviation Consumer Advocate" position at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to help resolve consumer complaints;
  • Mandating flight attendants receive a minimum of 10 hours of rest between duty periods;
  • Addressing issues faced by passengers with disabilities, including by requiring DOT to develop an "Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights" and creates a civil penalty for damage to passengers' wheelchairs and mobility aids.
  • Requiring all medium and large U.S. airports to have private rooms for nursing mothers and baby changing tables in at least one restroom in each passenger terminal;
  • Reauthorizing the National Transpiration Safety Board (NTSB) for 4-years

The House is also expected to pass a one-week extension of the FAA's authority, through October 7, 2018, to allow the Senate time to consider re-authorization beyond the September 30th expiration deadline.  Upon approval by the Senate and a signature by the President, H.R. 302 reauthorizes the FAA through 2023.