Press Releases

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Washington, DC—Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the senior Republican in the United States Senate, released the following statement after H.R.302, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, reauthorized Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs for five years. This long-awaited bill benefits Utah by supporting programs that modernize airport infrastructure and enhance aviation safety. Most of all, Utah aviation will benefit from five years of authorization wherein the industry can plan and work to support air travel and recreation with greater certainty.   

“Today the Senate came together and overwhelmingly passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, keeping our aviation industry safe and strong for years to come,” said Hatch. “I’m pleased to see several pieces of legislation that I fought for pass today, and I look forward to the great benefit this reauthorization will have on so many people in Utah.”

Hatch achievements included in H.R.302:

1. Geospatial Data Act (GDA, S.2128)(Sec. 751) – Bipartisan Hatch legislation, a good-governance bill that will bring structure and Congressional oversight to federal geospatial data spending, accounting, and usage. The GDA will:

  • Dramatically reduce duplicative spending and, according to the Government Accountability Office, save the federal government billions of dollars
  • Bolster federal emergency response capabilities by enabling smarter, more efficient disaster relief
  • Improve infrastructure planning nationwide by providing state and local governments with access to higher-quality, more robust data.
  • The bill is supported by over 65 universities, industry groups, trade associations, companies, and state and local stakeholders, including the National Association of Counties and National League of Cities.

2. Aviation Maintenance Technician School Training Program Modernization (S.2792)(Sec. 624)Hatch legislation that requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to modernize the mandated curriculum for training programs at aviation maintenance technician schools, which has not been updated in five decades.

Statements of Support:

A variety of airlines support the bill, which was also endorsed by over 20 industry associations in a letter sent to Congress.  

Industry Letter

“In an age where technological advances are constantly driving innovation for safer and more efficient aircraft, schools are mandated to teach antiquated and inconsequential subject areas. Seeing no regulatory relief is in sight, the undersigned organizations strongly support your legislation requiring the agency to modernize aviation maintenance technician training.”

Jared Britt, SUU Aviation Director of Maintenance 

SUU is proud to have been a part of Senator Hatch’s ground breaking and historical legislation. For the first time in aviation history, legislation has been passed demanding the FAA update the training it requires for Aviation Maintenance Technicians. All too often the AMT profession is overlooked, yet they have the most important job in aviation. This is a real win for SUU, and shows the truth in the fact that our representatives do act on behalf of the public interest.” 

Gil West, Delta Airlines Chief Operating Officer

“Delta employs more than 10,000 aviation maintenance professionals who power our airline’s industry-leading reliability, so it’s critical that their education keeps pace with the technological advances in today’s modern commercial aircraft, as this legislation introduced by Chairman Hatch and Senators Cantwell, Blumenthal and Inhofe boldly intend to require.” 

Mike Thompson, SkyWest Airlines Chief Operating Officer

“With over 100 new aircraft in our fleet and 2,000 maintenance professionals, SkyWest looks forward to enhanced educational curriculums that prepare technicians for today’s modern operating environment.” 

3. Multiagency Use of Airspace and Environmental Review Report (S.3475)(Sec. 543) – Hatch legislation that remedies delays in special-use airspace requests by requiring FAA and the Department of Defense to collectively report to Congress on how to improve processing time for such requests. This will enable greater ease of use airspace by commercial and general aviation aircraft, and will help Department of Defense Test and Training ranges, like UTTR, to better train and prepare against threats.  

4. Ensuring Reliable Air Service to American Samoa (S.2348) (Sec. 402) – Hatch legislation that ensures more reliable air service within American Samoa by allowing renewal of a foreign air carrier’s emergency air transportation exemption every 180 days, instead of the current 30-day renewal period that applies to other areas.

Statements of Support:

Andrew Choe, President and CEO of StarKist

“I would like to thank Senator Orrin G. Hatch (UT) for [this] legislation to ensure reliable air service in American Samoa. This legislation makes transportation more efficient and economic productivity more viable in the American Samoan Territory.  At Starkist, we are trying to sustain a business on U.S. soil and economic efficiency should not be hampered by restrictive processes. We appreciate Senator Hatch’s leadership and ongoing attention to strengthen the economic foundation of American Samoa to benefit the territory’s future and applaud Senator Hatch’s support to ensure that issues in American Samoa are addressed for the good of the local American Samoan economy and people.”

Lolo Matalasi Moliga, Governor of American Samoa

“The Honorable Senator Orrin Hatch is restoring hope and giving a lifeline to the people of American Samoa as well as restoring faith in the commitment by the Congress to the tenets of our Deeds of Session with the United States of America entered into 1900 and 1904.”

Phil Ware, President and CEO of the Territorial Bank of American Samoa

“As the CEO of a banking organization in American Samoa, I am very familiar with the important issue of interisland transportation as it relates to the economy of the island and the welfare of the American Samoa citizens. Thank you for your recognition of one of several situations that put the people of American Samoa at a great disadvantage to live and compete in a global economy.”