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NBAA joins call for senate to move ahead on long-term FAA reauthorization bill

As time ticks down toward expiration of the latest short-term extension of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) joined with 22 additional aviation groups in sending an urgent call for U.S. Senate leadership to markup and pass the comprehensive five-year FAA reauthorization bill that remains under deliberation in the chamber.

“We are grateful for the work in pursuit of a long-term, bipartisan and commonsense FAA reauthorization bill,” wrote the groups in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader (R-KY) and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chair Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX.)

“As stakeholders across the entire aviation sector, we urge you to markup S.1939, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 … as soon as possible.”

Review the full letter.

In addition to signing on to the letter, NBAA is asking its members to reach out to Senate leaders, urging them to pass the FAA reauthorization bill.

“If the FAA is not promptly reauthorized, the National Airspace System will not have the proper staffing and infrastructure to keep aviation moving,” the call to action reads.

“Today’s service disruptions and capacity reductions will be further exacerbated. We simply can’t afford our national air system to continue to be stretched so thin. We need to move forward on safety, not backward.”

Introduced on June 13 of last year, S.1939 remains stalled in the Commerce Committee. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its own FAA reauthorization bill last July by a strong bipartisan vote of 351-69; without consensus in the Senate, however, Congress has resorted to two short-term extensions of the last FAA reauthorization, passed in 2018, to maintain agency operations.

With the latest extension due to expire March 8, “aviation workers, the industry and passengers need a long-term reauthorization bill now,” the letter continued. “[W]e need to ensure that our airspace continues to be the safest aviation system in the world. To maintain this global gold standard in safety, the FAA must have the stability and direction provided for by a multi-year reauthorization bill.”

FAA staffing and infrastructure are also at risk, the groups added, at a time when the National Airspace System is grappling with delays, service disruptions and capacity limits. The lack of a long-term reauthorization measure also threatens the country’s aviation sector, which supports more than 10 million jobs and represents approximately 5% of U.S. gross domestic product.

“We simply can’t afford our national air system to continue to be stretched so thin,” the groups wrote. “That is why it’s critical that the Commerce Committee advances the bill so that the House and Senate will have time to complete their work before the March 8 deadline.

“Additional extensions create further delays in the system,” the letter concluded. “We need a long-term authorization to provide the stability, investment, and planning for aviation to meet its mission of safe and efficient transportation.”