Fischer Applauds Provisions to Bolster Airline Safety, Support Nebraska’s Rural Regional Airports

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, welcomed news that the U.S. House of Representatives passed final legislation today to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years. Last week, the U.S. Senate approved the legislation on a bipartisan basis.

This bill includes several provisions championed by Senator Fischer to advance safety and to support rural regional airports across Nebraska.

“By continuing support for small and rural airports, the legislation ensures that Nebraskans remain connected with the nation. This bill also takes meaningful steps to advance new technologies in aviation and includes provisions to support women in aviation and to protect Essential Air Service. I urge President Biden to sign this into law without delay to strengthen safety for the flying public and bolster Nebraska’s manufacturing industry,” said Senator Fischer.

“Duncan Aviation would like to thank Senator Fischer for her leadership and support in the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. Senator Fischer has been a staunch supporter of the Aviation Industry from the very beginning of her career in Washington. Not only does she recognize the importance of the passage of this legislation for the safety of aviation, she has also advocated for additional provisions, such as Women in Aviation, Workforce Development, and Advanced Technologies. This reauthorization will also help support necessary safety and capital improvement for community airports,”said Duncan Aviation President Jeff Lake.

Nebraska’s airports are set to receive robust funding from this legislation, including the following amounts annually:

Eppley Airfield
 - $2,194,110 

Lincoln Airport
 - $1,646,897

Western Nebraska Regional/William B Heilig Field 
- $1,300,000 

Kearney Regional
 - $1,300,000 

Central Nebraska Regional
 - $1,300,000 

North Platte Regional/Lee Bird Field
   - $1,300,000 

Chadron Municipal
 - $566,751 

Alliance Municipal
 - $403,914

Below is more information about specific provisions in the bill Senator Fischer championed:

Protect Essential Air Service: Maintains current EAS funding levels and does not include any cost-share language that would negatively impact Nebraska Essential Air Service (EAS) airports. 

Pilot Shortage Study on Regional Commuter Service: 
Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the pilot shortage’s impact on rural, regional carriers and recommend concrete ways to address the constraints.

Data Portal: Directs the FAA to establish a data portal to track FAA application status, giving stakeholders a more efficient and transparent application process.

Fixed-based Operator Costs: 
Directs the GAO to assess fixed-based operator (FBO) costs to better understand the pricing structure when pilots use airport facilities.

Advanced Aviation: 
Establishes an Advanced Aviation Steering Committee to improve rulemaking and better coordinate new technologies entering the aviation space.

Workforce Grants:
 Expands the eligibility for workforce aviation grants at manufacturing facilities.

Women in Aviation: 
Establishes a permanent Women in Aviation Advisory Board to promote and recruit more women in the aviation field.

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