Congress passes bill for Federal Aviation Administration (includes video story)

On Wednesday, Congress passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act to reauthorize the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board through 2028. The bill focuses on allocating resources to enhance aviation safety, improve consumer protections, promote technological advancements and update our national airspace system.

The legislation, which received bipartisan support, ensures that passengers will receive a refund if their flights are canceled or delayed three hours domestically or six hours internationally. 

“From now on, when your flight is canceled for any reason, you are entitled to an automatic and cash refund and it has to be prompt,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

The bill bans airlines from charging fees for families to sit together. It also establishes a new FAA pilot program that awards grants to enhance the accessibility of commercial airports and airplanes for people with disabilities. The bill includes measures to upgrade outdated FAA systems with the latest software and infrastructure. It also prioritizes environmental sustainability by researching cleaner fuels and more energy-efficient aircrafts.

Adding more flights at Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) was also addressed in the bill. In July of last year, the House almost agreed to an amendment proposing seven additional round-trip flights at the airport with a vote of 229-205. The compromise FAA legislation, released late last month, includes a provision for five additional round-trip flights at DCA. The bill authorizes more than $105 billion for the FAA from fiscal 2024 through 2028. It also allocates $738 million for the NTSB for the same period.

Laura Palfrey is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in digital communication and media. After graduation, Laura hopes to pursue a television career as an NBC producer. She also enjoys photography, traveling, and watching movies.