U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today introduced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016, which reauthorizes the FAA and related programs through the end of fiscal year 2017 (September 30, 2017). The Commerce Committee will formally consider this legislation during a business meeting on Wednesday, March 16.
“As most South Dakotans can attest to, flying to and from small communities is a much different experience than traveling directly from one metropolitan area to another,” said Thune. “Rural travelers often face fewer options at smaller airports, and due to the seasonal threats of poor weather conditions, connecting flights through major hubs are often missed or canceled
“This legislation, which does more than just reauthorize the FAA and provide necessary funding for airports throughout the state, takes the uniqueness of rural air travel into consideration by building in important consumer protections that would help air travelers across South Dakota and advances a number of provisions that would have a positive impact on the entire general aviation community.”
Highlights of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016:
Consumer Protection & Aviation Access – Includes new consumer protections for the flying public:
- Truth in Weather Delays - Directs the Department of Transportation to review how airlines provide information on decisions to delay or cancel flights that may be fully or only partially due to weather related causes.
- Notice to Families with Children - Requires airlines to provide families with information about the availability of seats together at the time of booking.
- Disclosure of Fees - Creates a standard method for airlines to disclose airlines’ ancillary fees (baggage, seat selection).
- Refunds for Delayed Baggage - Requires airlines to return baggage fees when items are lost or delayed.
- Automatic Refunds - Requires airlines to automatically return fees for services purchased but not received (seat assignments, early boarding, carry-on bags)
Airline Safety Improvements – Includes new requirements on the bulk transfer of lithium batteries, mental health screening and records retention for commercial pilots, increasing awareness of human trafficking for airline personnel, and improving communicable disease preparedness.
General Aviation Safety & Protections – Addresses concerns of the general aviation community by including the bipartisan Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, which reforms the Third Class Medical Certificate process for non-commercial pilots. Also includes new requirements for small tower markings.
Click here for more information about the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 and how it would benefit South Dakota.
Click here for a detailed section-by-section summary.
Click here for the full text of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016, as introduced.