The AFA International, in collaboration with the United MEC Government Affairs Committee, has played a pivotal role in shaping and backing the present FAA Reauthorization bill. This effort ensures that the perspectives of Flight Attendants are acknowledged and considered.
We are excited to present some recent developments to you. On July 20, 2023, the House approved Bill HR 3935 with a vote of 351 - 69. This marks a significant progression for our sector, setting the stage to guarantee that aviation has the essential manpower and framework to progress smoothly. Yet, it's crucial to note that for the bill to become law, it needs Senate approval before the funding cut-off on September 30.
The House bill now includes several critical concerns of Flight Attendants, thanks to our efforts:
- Improving cabin air quality,
- Establishing aircraft cabin temperature standards,
- Pumping guidance,
- Required Flight Attendant self-defense training,
- Updating aircraft emergency evacuation standards,
- Reducing the risk of exposure to turbulence,
- Studying and reducing the risks of radiation exposure,
- Deterring crew member interference by disruptive passengers
- Reviewing medical equipment on board.
We were also able to keep out controversial amendments that could have potentially delayed the bill’s passage, like changes to the slot/perimeter rule at DCA and proposals to lower the 1500 pilot training hours requirement.
We want to extend our thanks to Chairperson Sam Graves (R-MO) and Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA) of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for steering this bill through the House. Despite this progress, we are still facing a potential obstacle in the form of a proposal to increase the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has denied a vote to remove this proposal from the bill. We count on the Senate to ensure this misguided proposal does not make it into the final bill.
We support ALPA in their efforts by advocating for the removal of the proposal to increase the pilot retirement age to 67. This proposal is not a practical solution to meeting travel demand and would not achieve its intended purpose. Moreover, it would be expensive to implement, waste time, and infringe on worker rights and collective bargaining by forcing an already backlogged training schedule to accommodate more senior pilots who would have to return to domestic flying. For further information on ALPA’s position on pilot retirement age, please review their statement of July 13, 2023:
As the bill moves into the conference stage, we will continue to fight against such harmful “poison pill” provisions that could potentially derail passage, while pushing for stronger safety and security measures. We will keep you updated and encourage you to be ready to act to ensure the final bill upholds the integrity of our national aviation system without compromising safety.
Please call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to fund the FAA Reauthorization bill before September 30, 2023, and ask them to reject the language to raise the pilot retirement age.