May 10, 2024

Wyden, Colleagues Pass FAA Reauthorization Act

Bill includes Wyden provision to establish a working group on the safe transport of organs, bone marrow and more

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said today that the bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Act he voted for this week would save lives as well as benefit Oregon air travelers and small businesses.

“It is absolutely essential to our national security and economy to fully fund the departments that keep our planes in the sky and Oregonians safe in Oregon and throughout the country,” Wyden said about the legislation authorizing operations for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board for an additional five years. “This reauthorization connects communities in Oregon and nationwide, supports robust aviation programs that directly benefit consumers and contains new language that convenes experts to resolve longstanding issues with the transportation of life-saving organs.”

The $105 billion bill would fund numerous aviation related programs including an increase to air traffic controllers through hiring and training as well as consumer protections regarding refunds to passengers.

Below are examples of other aviation-related programs that are included in the reauthorization:

  • A working group to be established to improve the transportation of organs, bone marrow and cord blood. That Wyden provision follows a Wyden-led investigation in the transport of organs.
  • Rulemaking to start granting flight crews time and space to pump breast milk aboard aircraft.
  • A range of safety improvements such as increasing the amount of time that cockpit voice recorders record – which would have been helpful in investigating the cause of the Boeing incident.
  • Robust funding authorized for the Essential Air Service program, which ensures small and rural communities throughout Oregon and nationwide remain connected to air travel.
  • Authorization of unmanned aerial system test ranges, which is key for job-generating operations at Pendleton’s range in Eastern Oregon.
  • A guarantee for an airline passenger’s right to a full refund for canceled or significantly delayed or changed flights.
  • Support for families sitting together on airplanes without paying for seats in advance. 

The Senate-passed FAA Reauthorization Act is expected to pass through the U.S. House of Representatives next week before moving to President Biden to be signed into law.