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Rounds Statement on Five-Year FAA Reauthorization Act

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement on the Senate passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes federal aviation programs for five years. This legislation now heads to the president to be signed into law.


“Making sure the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the tools in place to modernize and improve U.S. aviation will benefit all air travelers,” said Rounds. “I’m pleased that the five-year FAA reauthorization bill passed by the Senate includes provisions I cosponsored to improve protections for volunteer pilots, recruit more airline maintenance workers and protect sports medical professionals traveling across state lines with their teams. It also includes reauthorization of the Essential Air Service Program, which is so important to a number of our rural communities in South Dakota. I thank Sen. Thune for his work on this important legislation and I look forward to President Trump signing this bill into law.”


The FAA Reauthorization Act includes the following provisions cosponsored by Rounds:

  • The Volunteer Pilot Protection Act, which states that volunteer pilots who fly for nonprofits are not liable for harm caused by their actions or omissions if they were in compliance with FAA requirements at the time,
  • The Aviation Maintenance Workforce Development Pilot Program bill, which creates a grant program to recruit aviation maintenance workers,
  • And the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, which clarifies medical liability rules for state-licensed medical professionals to cover the medical services they provide while traveling with athletic teams in another state.


The FAA Reauthorization Act strengthens aviation training and improves cybersecurity. It also improves services for passengers by establishing minimum standards for airplane seat sizes. Language is also included to prohibit airlines from bumping passengers from a full flight after they have already boarded.


The FAA Reauthorization Act does not include language to privatize Air Traffic Control, which Rounds has said would threaten affordable access to general aviation, especially in rural areas.