The House and the Senate Saturday reached consensus on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018. The approximately $17 billion, five-year FAA bill will make its way to the House floor this week and could be voted on as early as Wednesday.
Airline labor highlights of the bill include protection for customer service agents from physical abuse that requires airlines to implement an assault prevention and response plan within 90 days as well as additional training. The bill also sets a minimum ten-hour rest period for flight attendants, equaling pilots’ minimum rest.
The IAM has been vigorously campaigning Congress for pro-airline worker language, meeting with legislators and organizing rallies on Capitol Hill.
“The provisions included in this bill will protect and enhance working conditions for our members,” said Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “I applaud our IAM members and legislative team for their unwavering effort in achieving this language.”
The legislation also dropped plans to mandate “reasonable and proportional” baggage and change fees but includes other new passenger protections including requiring airlines to set minimum dimensions for passenger seats —including legroom and width — and prohibits airlines from involuntarily removing passengers from flights after they’ve cleared the boarding gate.
Commercial aviation annually helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and support more than 10 million U.S. jobs. U.S. airlines fly 2.3 million passengers and more than 55,000 tons of cargo each day.