Biden signs legislation to improve air travel safety and protect consumers - TAI News
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On May 16, President Joe Biden signed the FAA Reauthorization Act, legislation that will fund operation of the Federal Aviation Administration and that includes several new measures to protect consumers and improve airline safety.

“The bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization is a big win for travelers, the aviation workforce, and our economy. It will expand critical protections for air travelers, strengthen safety standards, and support pilots, flight attendants, and air traffic controllers,” Biden said in a statement.

The law will fund the FAA through 2028 and contains increased funding for airport infrastructure upgrades to supplement funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Biden signed in 2021. The new legislation institutes a right for consumers to receive hassle-free refunds in the event of a flight cancellation or significant delay and prohibits additional “junk” fees often charged for such services as choosing seating.

In addition to these consumer protections, funding for airline safety inspectors has been boosted, and commercial airplanes are now mandated to have 25-hour cockpit voice recording technology.

“Today’s signing of the bipartisan, bicameral FAA Reauthorization into law is a major step forward for the safety of our nation’s aviation system. This bill addresses runway and airport near misses, maintains rigorous pilot training standards and ensures that the United States remains the global leader in aviation safety,” Capt. Jason Ambrosi, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said in a statement.

While the legislation had bipartisan support in the House and Senate, Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican, voted against it and was the only member of his home state’s congressional delegation to do so.

The FAA reauthorization follows after the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which contained significant spending to improve and protect air travel. The law earmarked $15 billion to expand airport capacity and increase safety measures, $5 billion to improve air traffic control facilities, and $5 billion to increase energy efficiency in airport terminals and to replace aging facilities.

Former President Donald Trump frequently spoke about “infrastructure week” when he began campaigning in 2015 and specifically referenced airport-related infrastructure issues.

“You go over to Qatar, you over to Saudi Arabia, you go over to some of these countries — China — and you see airports like you’ve never, ever seen before,” Trump said at the time. “Then you come back and you land at LaGuardia … or Newark or LAX and you walk into a filthy terminal that are falling apart and you have broken terrazzo floors and that’s all you have.”

Trump was unable to secure passage of any infrastructure legislation.

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