Senate Passes Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization

Legislation Bolsters Safety and Security of America’s Aviation System, Increases Consumer Protections for Air Travelers

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan, bicameral reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today by a vote of 89 to 4. The legislation will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after voting in support of the legislation:

“Our nation’s airports continue to be targets for terrorist attacks.  I was pleased to support this bipartisan legislation that strengthens the safety and security of America’s aviation system and provides increased protections for the traveling public against this ongoing threat,” said Senator Susan Collins.  “This legislation also contains a number of important passenger-friendly provisions, such as expanding enrollment in the TSA PreCheck program, so passengers move through security lines more quickly, and requiring air carriers to refund all bag fees if luggage is delayed or lost.”

The FAA Reauthorization also includes an amendment authored by Senator Collins that would prohibit cuts to the important Contract Weather Observer Service, helping to ensure the safety of our airports and protecting jobs at the Portland International Jetport, the Bangor International Airport, and nearly sixty other airports across the country.

Aviation Security and Safety Provisions in the FAA Reauthorization include: 

  • Expanded training and preparedness of local airport security personnel to better prepared for active shooter threats.
  • Increased prevention and response security teams, which often include bomb-sniffing canines.
  • Improved security vetting of aviation employees with access to secure airport areas.
  • Enhanced security for international flights bound for the United States.
  • Direction for the FAA to detect and protect against drones flying near airports.
  • Direction the FAA to establish a comprehensive and strategic framework to identify and address cybersecurity.
  • Required training for flight attendants in recognizing and responding to potential victims of human trafficking.

The FAA Reauthorization will increase transparency and protections for consumers by:

  • Expanding access to TSA PreCheck, which will help to shorten lines and increase operational efficiency.
  • Requiring carriers to refund all bag fees if the luggage is delayed or lost.
  • Ensuring that all children age 13 or younger are seated with their travel companion. 
  • Taking steps to improve air travel for persons with disabilities by requiring a review of training and best practices by airports and airlines.

The FAA’s current authorization will expire on July 15, 2016.