By David Shepherdson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House committee will consider a bill next week that would prevent airlines from charging for family seats, but would not set minimum seat size requirements or impose new rules to cover delays.
Leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Friday released a nearly 800-page proposal to reauthorize Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defense and infrastructure programs for the next five years.
The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to adopt its version early next week, while a House committee plans to vote on the amendments on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Biden administration wants to force Congress to provide cash compensation for delays of three hours or more where carriers are responsible, and introduce new transparency requirements about fees such as baggage fees when booking tickets.
The bill does not include those proposals, but responds to a call by the Biden administration in February to ban family seat fees for airlines that reserve seats in advance.
Following a series of incidents this year that have raised questions about the nation’s aviation safety, the FAA will establish a Runway Safety Council to develop strategies to address the safety risks of ground operations at airports.
The proposal calls for increasing the recording time of cabin voice recorders from the current two-hour loop to a proposed 25-hour loop by 2030 and requires a video recorder in the aircraft cabin.
The program will allow pilots to complete the required 150 hours of training in a flight simulator. Currently, pilots can count 100 hours toward the required 1,500 hours of training in a flight simulator or flight training device.
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