Update on FAA Reauthorization

REFERENCE: H.R. 915 – FAA REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2009

SUMMARY: As expected, following the election, Congress has begun to make progress again in discussing Federal Aviation Administration funding. The U.S. House of Representatives has reintroduced H.R. 915 to provide funding for the FAA through 2012. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 provides historic funding levels — $70 billion — for the FAA's capital programs between fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2012

MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS:
This proposal does not include user fees as a source for funding. Some of the funding proposals that will have a direct impact on AEA members include:
 
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL MODERNIZATION AND NEXTGEN

  • Funding: $13.4 billion for FAA facilities and equipment to accelerate the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). This would enable the FAA to make needed repairs and replace existing facilities and equipment, as well as provide for the implementation of high-priority, safety-related systems.
  • Accountability: Elevates the director of the Joint Planning and Development Office to the status of associate administrator of NextGen within the FAA, reporting directly to the FAA Administrator. There would be annual reporting requirements on NextGen-related deliverables, as well as provisions to ensure the FAA vendor accountability for providing safe, quality services for automatic dependant surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) and flight service stations.
  • NextGen Demonstrations: Several development activities are authorized for funding. These activities could include trajectory-based operations and super-density operations to mature technologies, investment and deployment of new capabilities while also identifying early implementation opportunities and refining longer-term objectives.

SAFETY

  • Foreign Repair Stations: Requires the FAA to inspect Part 145 certificated foreign repair stations at least twice a year. It also would require drug and alcohol testing for those individuals working on U.S. aircraft.
  • Safety Critical Staffing: Directs the FAA to increase the number of aviation safety inspectors.

AEA COMMENTARY:

The Aircraft Electronics Association is pleases to see this House bill does not include user fees. It is important for AEA membership to follow this critical funding process in an effort to: 
• support NextGen;
• protect U.S. jobs by informing your representatives of your international customer base and the risk of blindly supporting airline prohibitions on third-party maintenance that would affect the balance of international trade, which represents 20 to 30 percent of general aviation maintenance; and
• support the addition of flight standards inspectors.

This is only the first proposal by the House of Representatives; the Senate will have its own proposal. Once each chamber of Congress approves their own versions, the two versions will be resolved in conference between the two chambers of Congress. Only time will tell how close this proposal is to the final funding bill.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact Ric Peri, vice president of government & industry affairs for AEA, by email at ricp@aea.net or by phone at 202-589-1144.

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