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Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today introduced the Small Airport Regulation Relief Act of 2014. This bill would assist small, rural airports which are being threatened by a pilot shortage caused in part by new federal regulations. New federal regulations require co-pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time.
Smith’s legislation would require the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to use enplanement numbers from calendar year 2012 when calculating appropriate annual funds for airports through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016. It would ensure those airports which reached 10,000 enplanements in 2012 – before the new regulations – could use the enplanement numbers from that year.
“These small, rural airports successfully qualified for the Airport Improvement Program before the pilot shortage reduced enplanements,” said Smith. “This legislation would ensure these small airports are not penalized twice by the unintended consequences of these new rules.”
The Airport Improvement Program provides funds for projects to improve infrastructure, including runways, taxiways, aprons, noise control, land purchases, navigational aids, safety and security.