FAA Funding Finds a Slot on Senate Agenda

Partly in response to pressure from survivors of Colgan Air Flight 3407, the Senate will schedule time next month to debate aviation safety reform and the FAA operating budget. The agency has been operating with temporary funding measures since the last long-term budget expired several years ago. The current short-term funding agreement expires on March 31. As it stands now, the Senate FAA reauthorization bill contains measures designed to address the safety shortfalls that led to last year's Flight 3407 crash outside Buffalo. But airline lobbyists and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt have raised concerns over the language of the bill — it calls for a minimum hour requirement for any pilot of a commercial airline aircraft, including regional carriers. The groups and the administrator have suggested, rather, that stricter mission-specific training be considered.