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Shaheen Applauds FAA Reauthorization that Includes Her Provisions to Help Hire More Air Traffic Controllers

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) voted to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization legislation, which will help modernize the FAA and improve safety across the aviation industry. Included in the legislation are three provisions led by Shaheen to increase hiring of air traffic controllers and improve staffing models for air traffic control facilities as well as a measure to allow for the use of solar-powered lighting systems on airport taxiways to increase energy efficiency at airports.

“Air traffic controller staffing has been strained for years, leading to travel disruptions for millions of Americans and near-miss incidents at airports across the country. It is past time that we address these concerns head on, which is why I’m pleased that the final FAA reauthorization bill includes provisions that I led on to enable the FAA to hire more staff, ensure staffing levels are consistent and maintain a strong pipeline of qualified air traffic controllers to help keep the flying public safe,” said Senator Shaheen.

Specifically, the provisions Shaheen secured in the bill will:

  • Require the FAA Administrator to adopt the air traffic controller staffing model developed by the Collaborative Resource Workgroup (CRWG) on an interim basis while a study is conducted by the Transportation Research Board to compare the current model with the new CRWG model and determine which best accounts for the operational staffing needs of the air traffic control system.
  • Require the FAA Administrator to set as the hiring target for new air traffic controllers the maximum number of individuals able to be trained at the FAA Academy for each of fiscal years 2024 through 2028.
  • Require the FAA Administrator, within two years of enactment, to facilitate the use of permanent solar powered taxiway edge lighting systems at regional, local and basic nonprimary airports.

Last year, Shaheen introduced legislation to address air traffic controller staffing and increase transparency in their hiring process. Shaheen also wrote a letter to former FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen about the issue of workforce shortages as airports across the country faced multiple runway incursion incidents.