September 28, 2023

Duckworth Pushes for Aviation Safety at Aero Club Luncheon


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)—member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (CST) and Chair of the CST Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation—joined the Aero Club Luncheon fireside chat with key leaders in the aviation industry where she underscored the ways we should improve aviation safety, expand accessibility for passengers with disabilities and support our aviation workforce in the Senate FAA Reauthorization Act amid our aviation safety crisis. Photos from today’s fireside chat are available here.

“As a pilot and Senator, it was great to be at today’s Aero Club Luncheon to talk about all the ways I’m working to strengthen aviation safety for all passengers—especially as our aviation workforce is stretched razor thin and our entire aviation system continues to experience alarming near-misses where catastrophic loss of life was barely averted,” said Duckworth. “Amid this aviation safety crisis, there couldn’t be a worse time to roll back pilot training requirements or for House Republicans to manufacture a government shutdown that would halt training for air traffic controllers altogether. As Chair of Aviation Safety Subcommittee, I urge my colleagues to put partisan politics aside, act responsibly and help us keep the FAA and the rest of the government open so we can keep training our aviation workforce to keep the flying public safe.”

As one of the authors of the bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023, Duckworth successfully secured several provisions that will improve safety for consumers, expand the aviation workforce and enhance protections for travelers with disabilities. As introduced, the FAA reauthorization bill would extend FAA’s funding and authorities through the Fiscal Year 2028 without degrading pilot certification standards.

Throughout FAA reauthorization negotiations, Duckworth has been a fierce advocate of the 1,500-hour rule, having delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor on the importance of upholding the strong pilot certification standards and warning her colleagues of the deadly consequences of complacency in aviation. Duckworth’s efforts on this follow a recent surge in disturbing near-misses and close calls that prompted the FAA to hold an unprecedented safety summit and spurred an ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board to determine whether these frightening incidents may be precursor events that, left unaddressed, are a sign that the Part 121 system is vulnerable to a horrific crash.