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Montana Air Service Approved In FAA Reauthorization

The Federal Aviation Administration was reauthorized for five years and major wins for Montana air service, passengers and pilots were included in the authorization.

“In rural states like Montana, access to safe, reliable air service is essential. This bill will help protect passengers, address workforce shortages and increase affordable travel opportunities. This is a win for Montana,” U.S. Senator Steve Daines said.

Montana wins secured in the FAA reauthorization:

•Authorizes $1.7 billion in funding for the Essential Air Service program. Montana has seven communities, including Wolf Point and Glasgow, that rely on the EAS program for air service.

•Authorizes $4 billion annually from the Aviation Trust Fund for the Airport Improvement Program, which provides grants for airport infrastructure projects.

•Authorizes funding for the Small Community Air Service program, intended to improve commercial air service to less populated communities.

•Boosts contract tower staffing. Montana has three airports that participate in the FAA’s Contract Tower Program.

•Addresses Air Traffic Controller shortages by requiring the minimum hiring target for new ATCs to be the maximum number of individuals able to be trained at the FAA Academy. The shortage of ATCs is approximately 3,000 nationwide.

•Prohibits FAA from mandating COVID-related mask or vaccine requirements for airline passengers, or mandating that airline personnel, FAA employees or FAA contractor personnel be vaccinated against COVID.

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