Budzinski Helps Pass Bipartisan Aviation Bill with Stronger Consumer Protections, Workforce Development Resources 

May 16, 2024
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) voted for a bipartisan, bicameral bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years. The legislation includes improved protections for consumers and increased funding for workforce development programs.

“The profits of big airlines should never come before the safety and wellbeing of American passengers,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “This week, I was glad to pass bipartisan legislation that strengthens safety measures and consumer protections for fliers while also investing in new resources for workforce development programs that prepare folks for good-paying aviation careers. I’ll continue looking for opportunities to invest in our airports and maintenance facilities and support the economic benefits they bring to our communities.” 

The bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2024, which Budzinski voted for this week, will fund the FAA for the next five years and provide new guidance and standards for the agency. 

Expanding Consumer Protections and Accessibility 

  • Requires airlines to refund passengers with nonrefundable flights when their flight is canceled, significantly delayed or changed if they choose not to fly on the delayed or changed flight.
  • Develops policies for airlines to reimburse passengers for hotel and meal costs incurred when a flight is canceled or significantly delayed.
  • Establishes regulations requiring airlines to allow passengers to sit next to their young child to the greatest extent practical at no additional cost.
  • Reauthorizes the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee to advise on improving the accessibility of air travel.

Strengthening and Diversifying the U.S. Aviation Workforce:

  • Significantly increases funding for the FAA’s aviation workforce development grants to strengthen our talent pipeline of pilots, aviation maintenance technical workers and aviation manufacturing workers. 
  • Sets aside 20 percent of the total $60 million in funds for the Willa Brown Aviation Education Program to support outreach and educational opportunities in low-income communities.
  • Encourages the FAA to continue its outreach and engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to promote awareness of educational and career opportunities.
  • 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 Safety Standards: 

  • Requires air carriers’ emergency medical kits to include overdose reversal medications, Epi-pens, updated defibrillators and more.
  • Preserves the existing federal age and flight-hour requirements for U.S. commercial pilots.
  • Prevents runway incursions by expanding ground surveillance and detection equipment at large and medium hub airports to better inform air traffic controllers of potential danger.
  • Ensures foreign aircraft repair stations are subject to the same standards as U.S. repair stations.
  • Holds organization designation authority (ODA) unit members accountable to a higher standard by requiring ethics training.
  • Advances study of air quality and reporting/tracking of fume events
  • Requires study of cabin temperatures with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

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