July 24, 2015
LAA / LUS
FAA Reauthorization Bill ~ here we go again!
Update: Reports are that the FAA bill may have hit a stumbling block.
Many of you remember the long and sometimes painful process of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The U.S. aviation system relies on Congress and an array of taxes to fund operations, facilities, airport projects, air traffic control, including Next Gen which will be a massive upgrade for our aging air traffic control (ATC) system. After five long years and 23 extensions, including a partial shutdown of the FAA at one point, a three-year bill was signed into law on February 15, 2012.The current FAA bill expires in October and while lawmakers have promised a speedy passage, many are skeptical.
Why is the next FAA reauthorization bill important to the APFA membership?
It is widely believed that it will NOT be a labor friendly bill. The reality is that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T & I) is heavily dominated by conservative anti-union members who will automatically strip out any pro Flight Attendant language like an expansion of OHSA oversight of the aircraft cabin. The one area where there may be some positive action is on the issue of human trafficking-requiring mandatory training for FA’s but it must clear the hurdle of being passed out the Committee and then passing the Senate.
There are issues with leadership on T & I.
The powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster R-PA and his staff are talking about having an FAA bill on the House Floor for consideration in August. Most outside observers think that August action is highly optimistic, particularly with Shuster being dogged by the revelation that he has been having a relationship with the top paid lobbyist for Airlines for American (A4A) the group that represents the management of the major air carriers. Reporters have noticed a close similarity between the positions of A4A and those of Chairman Schuster.
Shuster is expected to also make the partial privatization of the air traffic control system a major part of his Bill. This issue has been long discussed in the US and has its supporters. A major stumbling block will be user fees and it is not clear where the Senate is on this issue. The General Aviation community remains opposed to the possibility new user fees for them.
We are tired!! We know Flight Attendant fatigue remains important to our members and we’d like to see inclusion of language in the bill that will address this important issue. APFA is working hard to get REAL language introduced in the form of an amendment to the FAA Bill when it is released. We will need your help convincing lawmakers to support it. It remains an uphill battle but it is a fight that we will continue to engage! APFA has several Representatives who are prepared to introduce an amendment. You may recall that APFA friend, now Senator Mazie Hirono introduced fatigue language to the last FAA bill for consideration by Committee. It failed but by a narrow margin.
To read the 2012 Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) study on Flight Attendant fatigue, Click Here.