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President Biden signs FAA reauthorization act, including funding increase for NTSB

The bipartisan bill is an effort to improve air travel, offering guidelines for refunds in the event of cancelations and improving safety with better cockpit voice recorders.
Reagan National airport in Washington, D.C.
Posted at 8:52 PM, May 16, 2024

President Joe Biden signed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization Thursday, calling it a "big win for travelers."

President Biden said the legislation will "expand critical protections for air travelers" and will improve safety standards, including by requiring that cockpits be fitted with 25-hour voice recording devices — an increase by two hours compared to current devices.

Certain aircraft traveling on extended over-water flights will also have to be equipped with technology that will help investigators recover critical flight data fast, without having to find physical recorders in an underwater search-and-recovery effort, the NTSB said.

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The National Transportation Safety Board also applauded the legislation's passage. NTSB Board Chair Jennifer Homendy thanked Congress for including the agency in the measure which increases funding for the FAA and NTSB.

Homendy said she is "deeply grateful" for the bill, which will increase funding for the agency over the next five years.

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President Biden said the act will allow the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve airline travel for passengers and their experience in airports and while flying. It will help implement a DOT rule that refunds will be automatically issued when flights are canceled or delayed significantly, the Biden administration said.

President Biden said families should not have to pay extra fees to sit together, and passengers should not have to "jump through endless hoops just to get the refunds that they are owed, and corporations shouldn't rip off hardworking Americans through hidden junk fees."

The legislation reauthorizes the agencies through September 30, 2028.