Flight Attendants Applaud FAA Reauthorization Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 15, 2024) — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson released the following statement on the 2024 FAA Reauthorization Bill:

“We can’t overstate the importance of action on this five year funding and priority plan for our national air transportation system. We applaud the bipartisan leadership of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee together with the Senate Commerce Committee. 

“We can move forward with staffing and training for critical safety jobs like air traffic controllers and FAA safety inspectors. We can ensure our aviation workforce resourced with the latest equipment and technology. The bill addresses other safety critical issues such as the air we breathe in flight, the temperatures on planes, the ability to safely pump as a pilot or flight attendant - along with so many other critical labor provisions including significant protections for maintenance of our aircraft. 

“Safety first! But none of us would have jobs without a working air transportation system either. It shouldn’t be this hard to lock in fundamental safety functions of government, but today we move forward finally! It’s a big deal that we secured authorization with key safety initiatives for the next five years. Let’s fly!”

There were many critical labor provisions in the bill, including several important to AFA-CWA: 

  • Cabin Air Safety: advances study of air quality and reporting/tracking of fume events
  • Temperature in Aircraft Cabins: requires study of cabin temperatures with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to better define the problem and push for AFA’s regulatory temperature standards petition. 
  • Crewmember PUMPing Guidance: affirms pumping realities for Flight Attendants and pilots and provides guidance to airlines to provide well communicated, safe parameters for pumping in non-critical phases of flight.
  • Improving Aircraft Evacuation Standards: addresses realities of today’s cabin environment through a specific study and process to implement recommendations for certification of cabin configurations and required Flight Attendant staffing.
  • Study on radiation exposure: directs the National Academies to conduct a study on radiation exposure onboard commercial aircraft.
  • Emergency Medical Equipment: directs FAA to address the emergency medical needs of children and pregnant women, opioid overdose, anaphylaxis, and cardiac arrest. It further requires a minimum of review of the medical kits at least every 5 years.
  • Strengthens Maintenance Requirements: safety loopholes including background checks, qualifications for mechanics, and unannounced inspections at foreign repair stations.
  • Secondary Cockpit Barriers: provides for a rulemaking committee for recommendations to require the installation of a secondary cockpit barrier on commercial passenger aircraft.
  • Rampworker Safety: safety review of airport ramp worker safety and ways to minimize or eliminate ingestion zone and jet blast zone accidents.
  • Airport Air Quality: requires study of airport air quality at Dulles.
  • Crewmember Self-Defense Training Updates: includes disruptive passenger scenario, methods to subdue and restrain an attacker, and requires consultation with the Federal Air Marshall Service.
  • Deter Crewmember Interference: establish a task force charged with reducing events and specific follow up to support crew and help deter other incidents. 
  • Requires Airlines to have formal policy on combating sexual assault in consultation with labor partners and clear reporting for passenger and crew.
  • Expands the crewmember interference language and penalty to include any airport or air carrier employees (helps to keep problems on the ground and protect all aviation workers)
  • Airport service worker study - a comprehensive review of the domestic airport service workforce and examine the role of, impact on, and importance of such workforce to the aviation economy

“We are especially grateful for the diligent work of Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, House T&I Committee Chair Sam Graves, and Ranking Member Rick Larsen. Their steadfast efforts produced a strong bill that matters for aviation workers and the American public on the whole,” Nelson concluded. 

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