A new funding bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations contains provisions that would promote transportation workforce opportunities, continue funding of the N-number blocking system, and support the ongoing modernization of the air traffic control system. NBAA welcomed the Fiscal Year 2021 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) bill’s potential to help the aviation industry, and especially its provisions to bolster business aviation’s workforce efforts.
The bill’s workforce promotion would fund a Department of Transportation public service announcement program, which would be designed to “increase the number and diversity of the transportation workforce…and to focus on engaging the next generation on potential careers in transportation,” according to the committee. This effort would be funded by $10 million to help aviation maintenance technician and aviation workforce development and $7.5 million for the Minority Serving Institutions program.
On the privacy front, the bill would mandate that the FAA continue operating the Limiting Aircraft Data Displayed (LADD) N-number blocking program. LADD allows aircraft owners and operators to sign up for blocking registration numbers from being displayed by real-time tracking services that have agreements with the FAA. (It should be noted that some tracking services such as ADSB Exchange do not have agreements with the FAA or other air navigation service providers and thus do not participate in LADD. For this reason, aircraft blocked under LADD can still be viewed on some tracking websites.)
Air traffic control modernization remains an important goal for the committee, which “directed the FAA to deliver an annual update on the status of the [NextGen Advisory Committee’s] recommendations” to the House and Senate appropriations committees.
“With the House Committee on Appropriations’ successful markup of the FY2021 THUD appropriations bill, congressional leaders are sending a clear message that the success and growth of general aviation are crucial to our nation’s economic recovery and future growth,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.