FAA Reauthorization Bill Heads to Senate Floor with Senator Hassan’s TICKETS Act to Strengthen Consumer Protections for the Flying Public
Bill Also Strengthens Airline Security, Improves Accessibility for Americans who Experience Disabilities, and Addresses Cross-Border Drug Trafficking
Bill Includes Critical Support for Rural Airports in New Hampshire and Across America
WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted on bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which includes key provisions championed by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH). The legislation (S.1405) reauthorizes the FAA for 4 years, through FY 2021.
The bill includes the TICKETS Act, which Senator Hassan introduced to strengthen consumer protections for the flying public following the incident on United Airlines Flight 3411. The FAA bill also includes measures to require a secondary barrier on new aircraft to protect the security of airline cockpits, improves accessibility for people living with disabilities; addresses law enforcement challenges posed by drones, including those related to cross-border drug trafficking; supports rural airports; and encourages innovation by expanding opportunities for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – all of which Senator Hassan has championed.
“I am encouraged that this bipartisan FAA reauthorization legislation includes the TICKETS Act, which I introduced to enhance consumer protections for the flying public and prevent further horrific incidents like the one that occurred on United Airlines Flight 3411 from happening again,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “This bill also includes bipartisan measures I have fought for to enhance the security of airline cockpits, encourage and support women to pursue careers in aviation, and to tackle law enforcement challenges posed by drones, including challenges related to cross-border drug trafficking.”
“And I am grateful that the FAA Reauthorization Bill includes important measures I fought for to improve accessibility on planes for Americans who experience disabilities and to support our rural communities in New Hampshire, fully authorizing the Essential Air Service program and giving rural airports more flexibility to invest in important infrastructure projects that enhance local economies,” added Senator Hassan. “While I’m disappointed that an amendment was included that would reduce pilot training hours and could compromise safety, I am hopeful that we will continue to work across the aisle on this bill before it comes to a vote on the Senate floor.”
Senator Hassan’s Priorities 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 introduced in response to the incident that occurred aboard United Airlines Flight 3411. The bill strengthens consumer protections by guaranteeing a boarded passenger has the right to fly, providing fair compensation to ticket-holding travelers, improving transparency by requiring air careers to clearly disclose denial of boarding procedures and overbooking policies, and addressing problems associated with ticket over-selling.
Combating the Heroin, Fentanyl, and Opioid Epidemic: Senator Hassan continues working to combat the devastating heroin, fentanyl, and opioid epidemic through a comprehensive approach that includes strengthening prevention, treatment, recovery, as well as supporting law enforcement efforts. As part of these efforts, the FAA bill includes a bipartisan initiative from Senator Hassan and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) requiring further study of challenges posed by drones that law enforcement face, including cross-border drug trafficking. This data will be critical in implementing common-sense policies to aid law enforcement in combating this epidemic.
Improving Accessibility for People Living with Disabilities: Recognizing that we are at our strongest when we fully include all citizens into the heart and soul of our democracy, Senator Hassan has long fought to ensure that all Granite Staters – regardless of personal circumstance – 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 wheel chair 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. Senator Hassan was also a cosponsor of the bipartisan FLIGHT Act, which was included in the FAA Reauthorization bill and will give rural airports greater flexibility to invest in important infrastructure projects that boost economic development in local communities.
Enhancing Security: The bill includes language from 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, Senator Hassan joined Senator Gardner (R-CO) in an amendment aimed at encouraging the federal government to use finite spectrum resources more efficiently to better support growing commercial wireless needs.