March 18, 2023

Duckworth Discusses Illinois Aviation Priorities with Regional Airport Leaders


[COLLINSVILLE, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation, today hosted a roundtable discussion with Illinois regional airport leaders to discuss this year’s upcoming FAA Reauthorization and the critical priorities for Illinois’s regional airports. As Subcommittee Chair, Duckworth will be one of the lead negotiators on the bill. In today’s meeting, she highlighted some of her top priorities for the reauthorization, including safety, workforce development, consumer protection and technology modernization. Photos from today’s meeting are available here.

“I’m glad I was able to meet with so many of Illinois’s regional aviation leaders today to discuss our priorities for aviation in Illinois,” Duckworth said. “As the Chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation, I’m looking forward to continuing to work with these leaders as we negotiate FAA Reauthorization and ensure we’re focusing on promoting safety, protecting consumers, bolstering the aviation workforce and more.”

During today’s meeting, Duckworth met with Illinois Airports Council Chair and Quad Cities International Airport Executive Director Ben Leischner, as well as representatives from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV), St. Louis Downtown Airport (CPS), Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (SPI), Mt. Vernon Outland Airport (MVN), St. Louis Regional Airport (ALN), Decatur Airport (DEC) and Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI).

Earlier this week, Duckworth chaired U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing to examine the challenges facing the aviation workforce and identify solutions for improving the recruitment and retainment of workers in the aviation industry. During her remarks, she touted bipartisan efforts to increase investments in grants that would support the workforce, including legislation like her bipartisan Aviation Workforce Development Enhancement Act.

Last year, Duckworth introduced the bipartisan Aviation Workforce Development Enhancement Act to help meet future needs in our aviation workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation would help expand the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s current Aviation Workforce Development Grant program by increasing annual funding for pilot development and mechanic development grants, as well as provide grant funding for aviation manufacturing workforce development, which is critically important for Illinois’s regional airports.