Rockefeller Says Consumers Will Benefit from FAA Bill

February 1, 2011

Chairman RockefellerWASHINGTON, D.C. – Commerce Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today joined several other Senate Democrats and the president of the U.S. Travel Association at a press conference to discuss the benefits the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill will provide to consumers. The legislation is the first jobs bill of the 112th Congress.

In addition to supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs, the bill will reduce costly, frustrating delays by about 20 percent, saving billions of dollars, and require airlines to come up with contingency plans so passengers aren’t stuck on the runway for hours.

“This significant FAA package will force airlines to be more accountable when they make passengers wait on planes or at airports. This will make lives much easier for travelers in West Virginia and across the country. The bill supports thousands of jobs, strengthens airline safety and provides much-needed funds for high-tech investments in large as well as small and regional airports,” said Chairman Rockefeller. “In addition, this bill will reduce frustrating, costly delays by more than 20 percent – saving passengers time, money, and generally reducing the ‘hassle factor’ of airport travel.”

Chairman Rockefeller’s full statement follows:

“Yesterday, we discussed all the ways that the FAA bill will help grow our economy and create and support good-paying jobs both locally in places like West Virginia and across the country. Today, we’re here to talk about the benefits this bill will provide to consumers – to the everyday American traveler.

“A centerpiece of this legislation is a strong Passenger Bill of Rights, which will require airlines to allow passengers to deplane after three hours. No longer will a family be forced to sit on the runway for five hours or more. In addition, food and water must be made available to passengers within two hours of being delayed. These are common sense provisions that will protect the traveling public – and make sure that hardworking Americans who’ve paid a lot to fly are treated fairly.

“The Passenger Bill of Rights will require airlines to notify travelers about chronically delayed and underperforming flights before they book their ticket. And, it will require airlines to disclose their fees – putting an end to hidden fees on checked baggage and changed flights.

“This FAA bill also invests in new technology that will reduce airport delays by more than 20 percent – saving passengers’ time, money, and generally reducing the ‘hassle factor’ of airport travel. Finally, this legislation will invest in rural airports, and essential air service (EAS), so people living in small communities can get proper access to our nation’s vast air transportation system.”