Drones and air taxis will be a big part of the FAA bill

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With the help of Oriana Pawlyk and Tanya Snyder

— Expect new airspace entrants play a major role in conversations around next year’s FAA reauthorization bill which will officially begin this week.

— The FAA probably can’t do much to stop Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and others from putting migrants on charter flights.

– Republicans start introducing bills to expand subsidies for electric vehicles, a likely preview of policy efforts if Congress turns around.

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“You just double-dipped that chip?/What?/You double-dipped the chip/So?/That’s like putting your whole mouth in the dip!” Look, when you take a chip, just take a dip and END!

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FIRST HEARING OF MANY: The first official Capitol Hill meeting on next year’s FAA reauthorization bill will begin on Wednesday, when the Senate Commerce and Aviation Subcommittee considers “new entrants” to airspace, including advanced air mobility and drones. The hearing includes witnesses from the Commercial Drone Alliance, the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Honeywell Aerospace and the National Business Aviation Association.

CALL TAXIS: And planes like eVTOL – essentially electric air taxis – and other planes that could change the landscape of transportation as well as the movement of goods are expected to finally make their big debut. Representatives Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee, and Garret Graves (R-La.) said lawmakers will create a “new entrant-focused title” in the next draft of FAA law. The title provision will point the FAA in the right direction to get “a clear focus on this area,” Larsen said at an Advanced Air Mobility Summit in Washington, DC last week.

TWO-WAY STREET: For the eVTOL world, some companies hope that their planes can be certified for flight by 2024 to officially enter service. But Graves said it was a two-way street when it came to getting the message out about what these planes are supposed to solve, like air service in remote rural areas, or even the transportation for medical services. “If we all of a sudden start launching these aviation technologies into communities, and people see them, they won’t know what it is,” he said, adding that the futuristic technology is ripe. for the conspiracies, so part of the responsibility lies with corporations, not just Congress.

This is why it is important to maintain an open dialogue about the needs of the aviation community, and the main reason why informal meetings are already well underway when the next bill is drafted.

MUSICAL CHAIRS: The election will also have major implications for the priorities of the bill and who leads the discussions. While Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is currently a member of the Senate subcommittee, he has officially declared his interest in the committee chair position since Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) intends to leading the Armed Services Committee. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) is next on the aviation subcommittee’s seniority list. On the House side, Larsen is the candidate for the top Democratic spot on the entire committee.

NO STOP ON THE GROUND: The FAA probably can’t do much to stop DeSantis and others from putting migrants on charter flights, Oriana reports, even though President Joe Biden and other Democrats have condemned the flights as cruel blows advertising. The same laws that give the FAA control of aviation safety also restrict its ability to otherwise interfere in the operations of charter companies. And migrant flights likely do not violate FAA regulations, former agency officials say, despite accusations that DeSantis and his agents violated migrants’ civil rights.

TO STAY OUT OF: The FAA itself has been reluctant to join the fray. When asked to discuss the limits of the agency’s authority over DeSantis’ bet, a spokesperson said only, “The mission of the FAA is safety.” The agency’s parent company, the Department of Transportation, referred to the FAA statement.

YOU CANNOT DOUBLE DIP THE CHIPS: Sen. John Thune (RS.D.) has introduced a bill, S. 4939 (117), that would prohibit automakers from taking grants to build new manufacturing plans while also benefiting from expanded tax credits for electric vehicles granted to consumers under the party. tax, health care and climate bill that Democrats passed. Thune’s bill has no chance of advancing in the current Congress, but offers a glimpse of GOP efforts to eliminate the new law that will almost certainly occur if Republicans take control of Congress.

Thune said he was unhappy with automakers raising prices for electric vehicles, as they are expected to receive billions of dollars in federal support in a bid to spur domestic production of batteries and components for electric vehicles.

“My Common Sense Bill would force automakers to choose between grants and loans that subsidize their manufacturing operations or ensure that the vehicles they manufacture remain eligible for the expanded electric vehicle tax credit. “, Thune said in a statement. “Automakers shouldn’t be able to double their revenue at taxpayers’ expense.”

ALL RISE: A federal judge in Boston is scheduled to hear from the Justice Department and attorneys for American Airlines and JetBlue who are heading to trial on Tuesday to defend their alliance. The DOJ has filed a lawsuit to untie the venture, known as the Northeast Alliance (NEA), which allows the two airlines to share revenue and book tickets, among other things.

NOT ENOUGH: The lead attorney representing the families of the victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 says the $200 million fine imposed on Boeing by the SEC on Thursday was not enough after the feds discovered that the manufacturer aeronautics had misled investors about the two fatal crashes that grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft around the world. Former CEO Dennis Muilenburg was also fined $1 million. Boeing said Thursday that the company has neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings. Clifford flagged Muilenburg, saying the $1 million fine was an “insult” because he left the company with $62 million in compensation.

“Muilenburg or anyone else who persuaded the government to keep the Boeing MAX 737 airborne should be fully investigated for conduct that may be criminal in nature.” said attorney Robert Clifford, who is pursuing a civil action against Boeing. “This includes the government reviewing all communications made between company parties or with anyone outside of Boeing.”

ICYMI: The Senate confirmed Robin Hutcheson as administrator of the FMCSA late last week. She has been acting in the role since January, after Meera Joshi left the role for a job in New York. Prior to that, Hutcheson served as assistant secretary of transportation for safety policy at DOT. Trucking groups hailed her confirmation and said she had shown “a passion for improving safety and a willingness to engage with the industry”, in the words of the president of the Truckload Carriers Association, Jim Ward.

BUYING CHINESE WAGONS INCREASES BUYING AMERICAN RED FLAGS: Three key Republicans on the House Transportation Committee are calling on the DOT inspector general to investigate the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s compliance with the Buy America FTA requirements regarding the purchase of railcars from the company. State China Railway Rolling Stock MA Corporation. The $138 million contract was awarded in 2017 and its original delivery date of 2019 was pushed back to 2023.

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– “While you’re in the air, key pilot partners can work from home.” New York Times.

– “Breaking down the DOJ’s American-JetBlue antitrust lawsuit.” Law360.

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