A4A: FAA Modernization and Reform Act likely to improve safety, limit tax burden on airlines and customers
Airlines for America (A4A), an industry trade organization for leading U.S. airlines, commends Congress for passing the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. A4A officials call the bill comprehensive and expect it “will help make air travel even more safe and efficient for passengers and shippers, while avoiding further tax increases for customers and airlines.”
“The bill will further enhance aviation safety by promoting the sharing of safety data by airlines and airline employees with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and establish a risk-based inspection system for aircraft repair stations located overseas,” says an A4A spokesperson.
“The bill will help accelerate deployment of the most cost-beneficial NextGen air traffic management system technologies,” he continues. “Specifically, the bill will require FAA to expedite implementation of performance-based navigation procedures at major airports, which will help airlines to further improve on-time performance, reduce fuel burn and aircraft emissions, and mitigate noise. Importantly, the bill also includes performance metrics and deadlines to ensure that air travelers, shippers and airlines realize the benefits of NextGen in an expedited, cost-effective manner.
“The bill holds the line on aviation taxes paid by passengers, shippers and airlines, which have doubled over the last 20 years and now constitute $61 of a typical $300 round-trip domestic ticket. This is critically important to the economic viability of the airline industry, which has lost more than $50 billion since 2001 and is now facing record-high jet-fuel prices. The bill also ensures that any future regulations governing the air transportation of lithium batteries are consistent with international standards.
“The bill reaffirms the U.S. position that the European Union (EU) should not extend its emission trading scheme (ETS) to non-EU airlines, and calls for the U.S. government to use all "political, diplomatic and legal tools" to ensure the scheme is not applied to U.S. carriers. In lieu of the ETS, Congress urges the EU to work with ICAO to develop a global, consensual approach to greenhouse gas emissions.
“In addition to accelerating the deployment of performance-based navigation procedures, which will help reduce emissions and aircraft fuel burn, the bill strengthens FAA research and development programs in the areas of alternative jet fuel and the use of advanced materials in aircraft.
"We commend Congress for passing a responsible bill that recognizes that commercial aviation is central to America's global competitiveness and a key enabler of job growth and U.S. productivity," says A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "Holding the line on federal aviation taxes and fees paid by airlines and their customers enables carriers to work toward being sustainably profitable, so they can maintain jobs and service to communities and invest in their product. This bill also recognizes that safety is our highest priority and includes several provisions that help us build on our strong safety record.
"A4A and its members deeply appreciate the leadership and the tireless work of Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), as well as Aviation Subcommittee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD), in bringing this critical legislation to a successful conclusion.
"We also commend the leadership and tenacity of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL), Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI) and Ranking Member Jerry Costello (D-IL) who understand well the importance of a strong commercial aviation industry and made this bill and its passage a priority.
"Finally, A4A thanks House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), for removing the roadblocks to getting the bill approved and bringing bipartisan resolution to this much-needed and overdue bill.
"This bill saw many extensions, yet thanks to the leaders in both the House and the Senate, today we have a strong, multiyear bill."