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Senators introduce aviation bill to reauthorize the FAA

A bi-partisan aviation bill — which according to its authors focuses on accelerating modernization of the nation’s air traffic control system, addresses safety concerns in the national airspace system and improves rural community access to air service — was introduced today.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee chairman Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and ranking member of the subcommittee Jim DeMint (R-SC).

The FAA reauthorization bill is critical to transforming and modernizing the air traffic control system, Dorgan said in a statement. The current radar-based system is outdated and doesn’t deliver the kind of service necessary.

According to information on the bill, a few of the provisions include:

Improved access to pilot records for hiring and enhancesd oversight of pilot testing;

Safety inspections of regional carriers;

Requiring the FAA to develop a plan to provide runway incursion information to pilots in the cockpit;

Improved safety for helicopter emergency medical services;

Improved federal oversight of the NextGen air traffic control initiative;

Establishing a 2018 deadline for the entire National Airspace System to adop GPS navigation technology;

Requiring air carriers to allow passengers to get off the plane after a three-hour delay.

The legislation must now be considered by the Senate Commerce Committee. House lawmakers passed their version of a FAA reauthorization bill on May 21.