Thursday, July 31, 2014

Smith bill would help airports hurt by pilot shortages

Third District Congressman Adrian Smith Thursday introduced a bill that would assist small, rural airports which are being threatened by a pilot shortage. The issue has been caused in part by new federal regulations that require co-pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time.

The Small Airport Regulation Relief Act of 2014 would require the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to use boarding numbers from calendar year 2012 when calculating annual funds for airports through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016. It would ensure those airports which reached 10,000 boardings in 2012 before the new regulations could use the boarding numbers from that year to obtain a million dollars in federal funds for safety projects, like taxiways, runways, aprons and other needs.

Western Nebraska Regional Airport as well as airports in North Platte, Kearney and Grand island have had the federal funding threatened by the pilot shortage issues.

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