Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Commerce Committee, announced the bill would put more FAA safety inspectors on factory floors and increase the number of air traffic controllers in towers. The legislation is aimed at improving customer service by implementing mandatory refunds for flight interruptions and prohibiting carriers from charging more to seat families together.

Despite opposition from local lawmakers who argued it would cause more delays at the airport, the committee agreed to include five additional slots for long-haul flights from Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in the bill. However, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) expressed his disappointment with this decision, stating that adding more seats will only cram more flights onto an already busy runway, negatively impacting DMV residents.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), ranking member of the Commerce Committee, expressed his support for the bill, saying it will help advance FAA operations and modernize and transform the aviation industry while addressing its challenges. The progress of this legislation follows high-profile incidents involving aircraft safety, including an “explosive decompression” on an Alaska Airlines Max 9 737 last month when a panel blocking an unused emergency exit door exploded during a plane flight. Supporters believe this legislation will foster innovation and emerging technology such as air taxis, hypersonic aircraft, and drones amidst these challenges facing the airline industry.

By Editor

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