WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018 today. The bill reauthorizes the FAA and aviation programs through FY2023, as well disaster programs at the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The final bill included two initiatives put forward by Congressman Ron Estes (R-Kansas) to protect general aviation and improve aviation security standards.
“This five-year FAA Reauthorization is critical to our region and country,” said Rep. Estes. “I am proud the final FAA Reauthorization Act included two provisions I introduced to protect general aviation in our region and country and improve aviation security standards around the world. I would like to thank Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for their leadership on this important issue.”
To support general aviation, today’s bill included H.R. 3669 introduced by Rep. Estes to improve security procedures for general aviation and commercial charter air carriers. The bill would:
- Require the TSA to conduct a cost and feasibility study of establishing web-based access to the Secure Flight system for commercial charter operators.
- Authorize the TSA to provide screening services to commercial charter operators in areas other than primary passenger terminals, if the carrier makes that request through the airport's federal security director.
- Require the TSA to provide Congress with an implementation plan for general aviation recommendations approved by the Aviation Security Advisory Council.
- Authorize the TSA to designate at least one employee to be responsible for issues and stakeholder engagement related to general aviation.
- Require the TSA to issue a report to Congress on the feasibility of requiring security threat assessments for all candidates seeking flight school training to operate any aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds in order to increase vetting of such candidates.
To improve aviation security, today’s bill also included H.R. 4559 introduced by Rep. Estes to require the TSA to conduct a global aviation security review to address improving aviation security standards worldwide and report back to Congress. This review would include establishing best practices regarding:
- Collaborating with foreign partners to improve global aviation security capabilities and standards.
- Identifying foreign partners that have not successfully implemented security protocols from the International Civil Aviation Organization or the Department of Homeland Security and have not taken steps to implement such security protocols.
- Improving the development, outreach and implementation process for security directives or emergency amendments issued to domestic and foreign air carriers.
- Assessing the cybersecurity and cyber espionage risk of security screening equipment.
When the U.S. House first voted on the FAA Reauthorization bill in May, Rep. Estes successfully amended the bill to include aviation manufacturers on a new task force assigned to update aviation safety standards and led efforts to prevent the privatization of air traffic controllers.
Industry leaders have praised the FAA Reauthorization bill, including Pete Bunce, President and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) who stated:
“We appreciate Representative Estes’ work on the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill that will fund the agency for five years, and increase the competitiveness of the general aviation manufacturing and maintenance industry. Congressman Estes is a great friend of our industry, and we applaud his advocacy to ensure manufacturers have representation on the FAA Flight Standards Reform Task Force, and his work to enhance safety and security at general aviation airports.”
Ron Estes is a 5th generation Kansan and represents Kansas’ 4th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Committee on Homeland Security.