WASHINGTON, D.C. — Third District Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., re-introduced the Small Airport Regulation Relief Act Tuesday.
The bill would help rural airports threatened by the pilot shortage caused by federal requirements that co-pilots have at least 1,500 hours of flight time.
The regulation has caused trouble for commuter airlines in communities such as Kearney, North Platte and Scottsbluff because beginner pilots cannot fly. The resulting pilot shortage has caused numerous canceled flights and eroded airline reliability and passenger traffic. In January, only 95 enplanements were logged at Kearney Regional Airport.
Smith’s legislation would require the Federal Aviation Administration to use enplanement numbers from calendar 2012 when calculating appropriate annual funds for airports through the Airport Improvement Program in Fiscal 2015 and 2016.
That would mean smaller airports could still receive $1 million from the FAA to fund improvements to runways, taxiways, aprons, noise control, land purchases, navigational aids, safety and security.