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US legislators have unveiled a comprehensive bill that seeks to reform and improve the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification and regulatory processes.
Named the ‘Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act’, the 85-page bipartisan legislation features 27 different sections.
It was introduced by House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Members Sam Graves (R-MO) and Garret Graves (R-LA) and Subcommittee on Aviation Chair Rick Larsen (D-WA).
The bill directs the FAA administrator to require certain safety standards relating to aircraft, as well as for other purposes.
Certain the aspects the bill covers include new requirements for disclosing safety-critical information, reinforce protection for whistleblowers, strengthens civil penalties for regulatory violations, directs the FAA to set global standards to enhance pilot training, and more.
The proposed legislation also authorises $27m for each fiscal year from 2021 through 2023 in new appropriations.
This will be used by the FAA to hire and maintain certification-related personnel such as engineers, safety inspectors, human factors specialists, software, technical and cybersecurity experts, and others.
The new legislation follows after the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure released its final 238-page report on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft earlier this month.
DeFazio said: “For the past 18 months, the Boeing 737 MAX has been synonymous with the tragic loss of 346 innocent people, a broken safety culture at Boeing, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.
“With the comprehensive legislation we are unveiling today, I believe history can also show this was the moment Congress stepped up to meaningfully address the gaps in the regulatory system for certifying aircraft and adopt critical reforms that will improve public safety and ensure accountability at all levels going forward.
“I look forward to quickly moving our bipartisan bill through Committee and sending this bill to the Senate.”
It will be considered during a Full Committee markup on 30 September.
Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), Allied Pilots Association (APA), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO (TTD) and Transport Workers Union (TWU) are supporting the bill.