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Senate Passes Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Bill With Critical New Hampshire Priorities

FAA Reauthorization Includes Senator Hassan’s TICKETS Act to Strengthen Consumer Protections for the Flying Public, Improves Accessibility for People Who Experience Disabilities, Supports New Hampshire’s Rural Airports

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today passed bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which includes critical New Hampshire priorities championed by Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The bill passed out of the House of Representatives last week and now heads to the President’s desk for a signature.

The bipartisan legislation includes the TICKETS Act, a bill Senator Hassan authored to strengthen consumer protections for the flying public following an incident on United Airlines Flight 3411. The legislation also includes key provisions to improve aircraft accessibility for people with disabilities; measures to require a secondary barrier outside the cockpit door to better protect pilots; support for rural airports, and more.

“I am pleased that this reauthorization includes the bipartisan TICKETS Act that I introduced to prevent another horrifying incident like the one that occurred on United Airlines Flight 3411 from happening again, and to ensure that all people are treated with greater fairness and respect by the airline industry,” Senator Hassan said. “I am also encouraged that this legislation includes other key priorities for the Granite State, including strengthening safety on aircrafts, supporting our rural airports, and improving accessibility for those who experience disabilities. This reauthorization is good for the flying public and good for New Hampshire, and I urge President Trump to sign this bipartisan legislation without delay.”

New Hampshire Priorities Senator Hassan Fought to be Included in the FY2018 FAA Reauthorization Bill:

Strengthening Consumer Protections for the Flying Public: The bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Bill includes the TICKETS Act, which Senators Hassan and Schatz introduced in response to the incident that occurred aboard United Airlines Flight 3411, where a passenger was forcibly removed from the plane so his seat could be used for a United employee. The bill strengthens consumer protections by guaranteeing a boarded passenger has the right to fly, provides for fair compensation to ticket-holding travelers who are involuntarily bumped, and requires further study on the impact of airline overbooking practices.

Improving Accessibility for People Living with Disabilities: Senator Hassan has long fought to ensure that all Granite Staters have the support they need to participate to the fullest extent possible in their communities. That is why Senator Hassan fought to include several key provisions to improve aircraft accessibility for people with disabilities, including establishing an advisory committee on air travel needs for passengers living with disabilities, a study on cabin wheelchair restraints, as well as language ensuring that air travel accommodations are inclusive of all disabilities.

Supporting New Hampshire’s Rural Airports and General Aviation Community: Senator Hassan fought to include important provisions to support New Hampshire’s rural communities, including authorizing the Essential Air Service program, which is critical to ensuring that rural communities receive commercial air service – regardless of their geographic location. This legislation also includes elements of the FLIGHT Act which Senator Hassan Co-Sponsored to increase investment in General Aviation Airports.

Enhancing Security: The bill includes the bipartisan Saracini Aviation Safety Act (S.911), which Senator Hassan cosponsored, to help enhance aviation security by requiring all new commercial aircraft to install a secondary barrier outside the cockpit door to deter unwanted access to the cockpit. Additionally, the bill includes a bipartisan amendment Senator Hassan offered with Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) that will enhance public safety surrounding unmanned aircraft systems by providing state and local governments with additional resources from the FAA on how to utilize drones and how to better respond to security challenges posed by this technology.

Encouraging Innovation: As part of her efforts to encourage innovation and boost economic development, Senator Hassan fought to include a bipartisan amendment she sponsored with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), encouraging the aviation industry to expand opportunities, including pilot training, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, and mentorship programs, to encourage and support women to pursue careers in aviation. Additionally, the amendment Senator Hassan sponsored with Senator Gardner (R-CO) to encourage the federal government to use finite spectrum resources more efficiently to better support growing commercial wireless needs was included in this bill.