FAA Bill Moving This Week, Remain Ready to Act

FAA Bill Moving This Week, Remain Ready to Act

June 12, 2023 — The FAA Bill is moving! This is critical for our jobs. If the FAA is not funded, we don’t have the proper staffing and infrastructure to keep aviation moving. We see it today with operational meltdowns and reduced schedules - but safety is a major issue when the national air system is stretched thin too. That’s why it’s critical that Congress get an FAA bill done without any threats of shutdown or extensions. We need stable longterm funding and planning for aviation to work across the industry.

The Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee under the leadership of Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Chair Sam Graves (R-MO) worked diligently to keep the FAA bill on track for completion before the September 30, 2023 deadline. The bills are written and heading to the respective committees for markup this week: House on Tuesday/Wednesday and Senate on Thursday. This allows for action in each congressional chamber in July and enough time for conference between the Senate and House to harmonize the two bills for final passage and the President’s signature before the funding deadline.

The FAA Bill is also the most likely avenue to advance our safety and health priorities. The last FAA Reauthorization bill was passed in 2018 and included our 10 hours minimum rest, no knives on planes ever again, banned voice calls onboard, and more.

So far we have been successful in getting several priorities in the base bill(s), including progress on cabin temperature standards, cabin air quality, crewmember self defense training and increased efforts to deter violent offenders in the airport and on the plane, evacuation standards, safety for our smallest passengers, breast milk pumping on planes, emergency equipment including response to overdose, advancing cyber security, and reducing impact of turbulence.

Thank your AFA Government Affairs Committee members for putting us on a strong path to achieve real gains for Flight Attendants. We have also been working shoulder-to-shoulder with APFA and it’s always more effective when we speak with one voice as Flight Attendants. What a difference solidarity makes!

We continue to work to expand the list of our priorities in the bill and support all aviation unions and allies on several other initiatives that matter for our jobs and safety in aviation.

Two key job security issues remain uncertain in the bill, but we are working for the best outcome related to:

  1. stopping any effort to use flags of convenience in aviation, and
  2. closing a charter loophole that two airlines (so far) are trying to use to form a new business model that skirts safety and security requirements in the rest of commercial aviation.

We strongly oppose any efforts to add DCA slots or change the perimeter rule. This is a poison pill that will delay getting a bill done at all. Aviation infrastructure, staffing, and safety measures simply can't wait. The public is fed up with the rate of air travel disruptions. This stems from two decades of mostly extensions of the FAA Authorization bill rather than long term stable funding that supports a strong aviation workforce, creates jobs, and improves our aviation infrastructure.

Please stay ready to act this week. We will need to remain vigilant to keep good provisions in the bill(s), gain more, and oppose harmful ones.

Fly safe and be ready to act! We will keep AFA Flight Attendants updated as the week progresses. 

In solidarity, 

Sara Nelson
International President

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