Transportation Committee Passes Nolan Amendments for Consumer Protection and Rural Airports
[WASHINGTON D.C.] U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan successfully moved two amendments supporting consumers and rural airports during Tuesday’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup of legislation to reauthorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Nolan’s amendments will be included in the final legislation that will be debated on the House floor.
“Following the horrific United Airlines incident where a passenger was forcibly removed after he was seated on an aircraft, in addition to the constant safety and convenience issues caused by baggage fees, the need for these amendments has never been more clear,” Nolan said. “Our amendments would make flying more consumer-friendly and protect the rural air transportation that we depend on in Minnesota’s Eighth District.”
Nolan also spoke about the importance of the Essential Air Service program to rural airports. Video is available HERE.
Nolan’s amendments included:
- Creating a consumer rights one-pager: The European Union (EU) provides a one-pager online for consumers to ensure that they know their rights relating to flight cancellations or delays; involuntary denied boarding, lost or damaged baggage; and what happens when you are disable or injured. Nolan’s amendment requires airlines to provide a one-pager to the Department of Transportation (DOT) within 3 months and requires the DOT to approve this one-pager within 3 months of receiving the one-pagers. Once it is approved, the airlines must make a copy readily available on their website and at the ticket gates for customer use. Supported by: the Consumers Union, Travelers United.
- Raising the funding authorization level for Small Community Air Service Development Program: The Small Community Air Service Development Program provides grant subsidies for airports in rural communities looking to create new air service – or expand current air service in places where access to the national air transportation system is limited. The Duluth International Airport is looking to apply for one of these grants to seek a subsidy for a flight from Duluth to Phoenix Mesa airport. Historically, this program has been authorized at $6 million. However, in the FAA reauthorization as currently written, the program is authorized at $6 million with $4.8 million of that going to a “Regional Transportation Pilot Program.” This leaves merely $1.2 million for the program and its original intent. Nolan’s amendment raises the authorization level to $10 million and restores the program, ensuring that the pilot program is not created at the expense of this original, vital program. Supported by: American Association of Airport Executives (AAE), Airport Council International-North America (ACI-NA) --- both of these groups represent the Duluth International Airport, Range Regional Airport, Bemidji Regional Airport, Brainerd Airport, Falls International Airport, and Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP).