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US president signs FAA reauthorization bill into law
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US president signs FAA reauthorization bill into law

US President Donald Trump on Oct. 5 signed a bill into law to reauthorize the FAA until 2023, marking the first long-term reauthorization for the agency since late 2015 and its longest since 1982.

News of the passage of H.R. 302 was met with praise from aviation stakeholders, although groups including airports, airlines and pilots have registered complaints about certain items included in, and missing from, the new law.

“With President Trump’s signature, the FAA Reauthorization Act will begin modernizing airport infrastructure, improving service for the flying public, enhancing transportation safety and security and boosting aviation industry innovation,” Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-South Dakota) said. “Because of this bill, our economy and passengers will benefit as airport construction projects will move forward, aviation manufacturing gets a boost and passengers will gain new legal protections during the experience of air travel.”

The FAA, in a statement lauding the bill’s passage, said the reauthorization bill “delivers a safer, more secure and efficient aviation system to the traveling public and helps fuel economic growth and competitiveness …Today’s signing of the five-year bill authorizes the reliable, predictable funding the FAA needs to invest in these critical priorities.”

The 1,200-pg. law contains numerous provisions that will impact the operations of airlines, airports, manufacturers and passengers. The provision grabbing most headlines is a measure that paves the way for the Department of Transportation to regulate minimum seat sizes on all scheduled carriers operating in the US. The law also orders the US Government Accountability Office to study aircraft lavatory trends, including whether the push to reduce the number or size of lavatories is creating “passenger … access issues”…

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