An industry-led aviation panel is recommending that the Trump administration roll back or ease dozens of safety rules, according to The Associated Press.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee voted on Thursday to approve a report with the recommendations, which were billed as an effort to help the agency comply with the White House’s push to reduce regulations.
One of the rules that the report suggested eliminating relates to pilot qualifications and training hours, according to the AP.
After the deadly 2009 Colgan Air crash in New York, in which pilot error was to blame, victims’ family members lobbied Congress for stricter regulations for regional air carriers.
Lawmakers increased the minimum number of flight training hours to 1,500 hours for first officers who want to obtain a license to fly commercial passenger airliners.
But regional airlines have been pushing back against the changes. The panel’s report suggests allowing pilots with less than 1,500 hours to qualify for an "air transport" license if they receive academic training from their airline, the AP reported.
The issue has long been controversial. Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSchumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff MORE (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, included language in an FAA bill this year to allow pilots to receive training credit through alternative means, such as academic training as opposed to flight hours, as long as the FAA deemed it to be safe.
Thune said he introduced the amendment to help address pilot shortages and stressed that the provision would put a greater emphasis on the quality of training hours instead of just quantity.
But Democrats worry that pilots will receive inadequate training under the proposed changes from Thune and could make the nation’s skies less safe.
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda Schumer gets shoutout, standing ovation from crowd at Tony Awards MORE (D-N.Y.) vowed to block the FAA bill from moving forward on the floor if Thune’s pilot training language was included.
Thune promised to work on compromise language with Democrats. So far, however, no deal has been made.