WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-5) released the following statement after the House’s passage of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization: 

“With this legislation, House Democrats secured key wins to create jobs, make our skies safer and cleaner, improve accessibility in the air and on the ground, and ensure passengers are treated fairly,” said Whip Clark. “Importantly, this legislation advances noise mitigation measures to improve the quality of life for residents near airports, including right here in Massachusetts. More work is needed on airplane noise, and I will continue fighting for solutions on behalf of the Fifth District. This legislation is a step forward for our local communities, for passengers, for the aviation industry, and for our planet.”

A fact sheet on the legislation can be found here. Key provisions include:

Noise Mitigation: 

  • Establishes the position of the Aviation Noise Officer to serve as a liaison to the public and make recommendations to the FAA Administrator.
  • Directs FAA to review and revise federal aviation noise standards and to seek feedback from neighboring airport communities.
  • Requires FAA to take specific actions to reduce undesirable aircraft noise when implementing or revising a flight procedure.
  • Establishes an Airport Community of Interest Task Force to provide input to the FAA on areas of community interest and an FAA Community Collaboration Program to harmonize FAA policies and procedures on community engagement, including on aviation noise.

Expanding Consumer Protections and Accessibility: 

  • Directs DOT to require airlines to develop policies addressing reimbursement for passengers for hotel and meal costs when a flight is canceled or significantly delayed;
  • Requires airlines to develop airline operation resiliency plans to help prevent and limit the impact of mass flight disruptions;
  • Requires airlines to establish policies on allowing passengers to sit next to their young child if adjacent seats are available;
  • Reauthorizes the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee to advise on improving the accessibility of air travel;
  • Directs DOT to improve airline personnel and contractor training standards on assisting passengers with disabilities using wheelchairs with boarding and deplaning, and stowing wheelchairs and mobility aids; 
  • Requires airlines to publish the dimensions of their cargo holds and refund passengers who book flights on planes that cannot accommodate their mobility devices; 
  • Directs DOT to create a roadmap for airlines to reduce damage to wheelchairs and mobility aids and better accommodate wheelchairs onboard aircraft; and 
  • Authorizes the FAA to lead research to improve airplane accessibility and requires DOT to provide Congress with more detailed information on disability-related complaints and recommendations to address safety challenges for these passengers. 

Promoting Environmental Sustainability and Resilience:

  • Expands how Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding can be deployed and increases funding from $3.35 billion to $4 billion per year:
    • Allows airports to use existing AIP funding for hydrogen and unleaded fuel infrastructure.
    • Allows airports to use AIP funding for airport environmental resiliency projects. 
    • Creates a minimum level of funding of $150 million per year for airport noise and environmental programs within the AIP program.
  • Expands the FAA’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program to all commercial airports and streamlines eligibility requirements to help improve airport air quality; and
  • Requires the FAA to develop a plan to ensure general aviation aircraft can transition away from unleaded fuels by 2030.


# # #