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Tue, Mar 13, 2018

Senator Thune Drops Pilot Training Provision From Proposed FAA Bill

Clears The Way For A Vote On Long-Term Funding For The Agency

Another contentious issue potentially blocking passage of a long-term FAA authorization bill has been dropped by its sponsor.

Senator John Thune (R-SD), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, has reportedly withdrawn a controversial provision from the Senate version of the FAA funding legislation that would have reduced the amount of training needed for pilots to become first officers for U.S. airlines. Roll Call reports that Thune announced his decision to pull the proposal back last week.

Thune's proposal would have allowed pilots to count activities other than actual flight hours towards the 1,500-hour requirement for an airline job. Among them would have been time accumulated in flight simulators.

Thune said that he has recently made enough progress with the Department of Transportation on a solution to the training hour issues that "I feel confident, at least at this point, that we can move forward with an FAA bill.”

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) had vowed to block a floor vote on the bill if it contained Thune's provision on pilot training.

Last month, Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA) dropped his proposal to privatize Air Traffic Control, which was opposed by a large segment of the GA and business aviation communities.

There are still some differences to be resolved. The Senate version of the FAA reauthorization allocates $68 billion over four years, while the House proposal is for $62.25 billion. Congress is expected to pass at least one more continuing resolution on FAA funding before a long-term bill is finalized.

(Image from file)

FMI: Original report

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