Senate Democrats

Senate Demcrats: FAA Bill Will Protect Consumers, Reduce Flight Delays That Cost Passengers An Estimated $16 Billion A Year

More Than 1 Million Flights – 1 in 5 Commercial Flights – Were Delayed Last Year

Washington, D.C. – At a press conference today, Senate Democrats and the president of the U.S. Travel Association discussed how Democrats’ first jobs bill of the new Congress will also reduce delays and protect consumers.??The FAA Reauthorization measure will create and protect 280,000 jobs by investing in airports across the country and improving our infrastructure, said Senators Jay Rockefeller, Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer and Amy Klobuchar.

“This significant FAA package will force airlines to be more accountable when they make passengers wait on planes or at airports. This will make lives much easier for travelers in West Virginia and across the country. The bill supports thousands of jobs, strengthens airline safety and provides much-needed funds for high-tech investments in large as well as small and regional airports,” said Sen. Rockefeller, Chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “In addition, this bill will reduce frustrating, costly delays by more than 20 percent – saving passengers time, money, and generally reducing the ‘hassle factor’ of airport travel.”

In addition to creating and protecting hundreds of thousands of jobs, this bill will reduce frustrating, costly delays by more than 20 percent – saving consumers time and billions of dollars.

“Growing flight delays aren’t just an annoyance, they are devastating to the economy and threaten cities like New York as a destination for global travelers,” Sen. Schumer said. “A satellite-based navigation system is long overdue for this country, and now is the time to bring our air traffic control systems into the 21st century.”

Every year delays affect 1 in 5 commercial flights, costing passengers $16 billion.

"This is a jobs bill, a safety bill and a consumer rights bill,” Sen. Boxer said. “I am proud that this legislation includes the Boxer-Snowe Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, which will help protect passengers from being trapped on planes for hours without adequate access to food, water or restrooms.”

When flights are delayed, the bill will protect passengers from having to sit on runways for hours and require airlines to provide passengers with timely, accurate information regarding their flights. The bill will also require airlines to have plans in place for providing passengers with adequate food, water and access to restrooms during delays.

“The aviation system is a crucial piece of our national infrastructure and a vital part of our nation’s economy,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “This bill upgrades air traffic control technologies, improves passenger rights, and helps make our air transport system the safest in the world.  Now is the time where the rubber meets the runway, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass a strong comprehensive bill.”

U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow said the delay reductions would also create thousands of jobs. That number comes on top of the 280,000 jobs announced Monday, which will be created or protected by the bill’s investments in airports across the country.

“In order to get our economy moving again, we need an efficient air travel system that doesn’t discourage sales people from expanding their markets or small businesses from reaching distant parts of the country," Dow said. “Simply reducing delays could add billions of dollars in travel spending back into the economy. That spending would support thousands of jobs in the travel industry.”