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Thursday, March 17, 2016
APFA Government Affairs Update – FAA Reauthorization Bill – LAA/LUS
The Senate Commerce Committee approved an FAA Reauthorization bill this week. Included in the Senate bill is a provision, which will lead to a minimum of ten (10) hours rest for Flight Attendants working a fourteen (14) hour duty day. While this is another step closer to regulating Flight Attendant rest, some obstacles remain:
- There is still no clear definition of “rest” in either the House or Senate version.
- There has not been any action on the FAA bill since the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved it and there is no floor vote in sight.
Other portions of the FAA Reauthorization bill that APFA Government Affairs has supported include:
- Permanent Ban of Voice Calls Onboard Aircraft – (APFA provided testimony to the Department of Transportation)
- Human Trafficking Awareness Training – (Retired APFA member Nancy Rivard tells APFA, “This bill is a step in the right direction as the U.S. State Department has determined that transportation professionals are among the best-placed to identify human trafficking situations”).
- Evacuation Standards Review – (APFA Government Affairs provided testimony to the Department of Transportation regarding seat space, size, evacuation standards and increased incidences of air rage on board our airplanes)
- Family Seating – Requires airlines to advise passengers when they purchase seats for family members that they may not be able to sit together. Flight Attendants end up dealing with this issue at the last minute when we are trying to complete our required safety checks.
- No Knives – To continue to prohibit small locking knives from being brought on board our aircraft. Flight Attendants remain the last line of defense.
If their respective chambers approve both the House and Senate versions, the two bills will need to be reconciled by a conference committee.
As of today, it does not appear that either version of the FAA Reauthorization bill will be moving in the near future. The Senate has passed a short-term, four-month extension by unanimous consent which will now head back to the House for approval. The House needs to act by the end of the month when the current extension ends. APFA Government Affairs will continue to push for comprehensive, science-based fatigue regulations that will protect our members.
APFA National Government Affairs Representative