Air travel in the United States is on the rise in 2023. According to a survey by Forbes Advisor, 49 percent of Americans plan to travel more in 2023 than they did in 2022. However, we have seen a number of challenges accompany this increase in demand, particularly during the summer travel season.
The modern marvel of commercial aviation allows for travel across our country and around the globe. Air transportation isn’t just about traditional ticketed passengers – general aviation and air cargo are also critical components of our economy.
As airports and airlines have struggled to manage greater demand, travelers have become all too familiar with disruptions in flight plans. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, more than 1-in-5 flights have been affected by delays this year. Furthermore, with the added challenges of staffing and pilot shortages, weather-related delays are more difficult to troubleshoot. These factors underscore the need for improvement and innovation in the aviation industry.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), each day 45,000 flights carrying 2.9 million passengers are served by the national airspace system (NAS) — a network administering equipment, facilities, services, and manpower in American domestic and oceanic airspace.
Congress considers legislation to reauthorize the FAA every five years, and we last enacted comprehensive FAA legislation in 2018. The deadline for FAA reauthorization is September 30 of this year. This week I supported the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act. This important legislation to reauthorize FAA passed on a 351-69 overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, and I’m glad the House came together to ensure our nation’s aviation system has the resources and stability necessary to serve Americans.
In a dynamic and rapidly growing field, commonsense policy is needed to keep pace with aerospace innovations. This legislation streamlines the safe and efficient testing of new technologies, such as Advanced Air Mobility, have the potential to change our everyday lives and help the U.S. compete globally.
To enhance the experience for the traveling public, the House bill also includes improvements to air traffic control systems and infrastructure. By increasing annual funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and cutting red tape, airports across the country — including the ones serving Nebraska’s Third District — will be able to better maintain and improve their facilities for passengers and airlines. Additionally, the bill invests in aviation workforce growth and paves the way for much-needed updates in air travel safety administration.
As the birthplace of flight, the United States has long been on the leading edge of aeronautical advancements. According to an FAA report, the aviation sector contributes to over five percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the NAS is on track to facilitate travel for 1 billion passengers this year.
Maintaining the valuable economic impact, scientific leadership and high safety standards of the American aviation industry are critical to continued success and innovation in American aviation.