posted on July 17, 2013 15:04
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill calling for new rules for the general aviation sector July 16, sending to the Senate a measure that small-aircraft makers hope will revive the struggling industry.
The bill, authored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), would give the FAA until the end of 2015 to rework a certification process plane-makers say is too costly and cumbersome.
“I don’t think this turns the lights on for these folks,” Pompeo told POLITICO, referring to the general aviation industry. “But it will help them get their products to market quicker.”
The bill is backed by bipartisan groups of representatives and senators, many of whom represent general aviation interests. Pompeo represents Wichita, which has long billed itself as “The Air Capital of the World” and contains a bevy of companies that build small planes, including Cessna and Beechcraft.
Cirrus Aircraft is based in Minnesota, the home state of Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the lead sponsor of the Senate’s version of the bill. Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, whose constituents often use small planes for everyday travel, are also backing the legislation.
Pompeo said he spent two years working with the FAA addressing roughly two dozen concerns they had with his plan, and the FAA has said it provided “technical assistance” with the legislation.
Klobuchar is working with Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) office and with Aviation Subcommittee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) on the bill.
With bipartisan support in the Senate and a 411-0 vote in the House, Pompeo said he is “very optimistic” the bill would pass by the end of the year.
The last obstacle could be the White House, which has yet to take a position on the bill.