Press Releases

FAA bill expands passenger protections, helps reduce
airplane noise in communities

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after voting to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years:

“This long-term FAA reauthorization not only keeps the air traffic control system up and running, it includes a number of important reforms to better protect travelers, workers and our communities. This is a good bill for everyone, not just those whose fly, and I’m proud to support it.

“Airplane noise continues to be a serious problem for many Californians living near airports. This bill helps us better assess airplane noise and look for ways to reduce its impacts on our communities.

“The bill closes the loophole that allowed recreational drones to remain unregulated and will establish built-in technological safeguards, changes I’ve advocated for since introducing the Consumer Drone Safety Act in 2015. The bill also increases the penalties for flying drones near first responders fighting wildfires, prohibits weapons on drones and helps combat the use of drones to smuggle contraband across the border or into prisons.

“There is always more work to be done and I’ll continue to push for stronger traveler and worker protections, more infrastructure investment and ways to improve safety and security of our skies.”

Key Provisions Senator Feinstein Helped Secure:

  • Passenger comfort and safety: Bans voice calls in airplane cabins, creates regulations for minimum seat size and requires an additional cockpit barrier in new airplanes to prevent hijacking.

  • Airplane noise: Includes provisions to more accurately measure airplane noise and its effects on the health of communities. It also directs the FAA to look for ways to reduce airplane noise and evaluate options for spreading out flight paths near airports.

  • Protects California workers: The bill leaves in place California laws that allow truck drivers to take meal and rest breaks during their shifts.

  • Strengthens oversight of drones: Allows the FAA to regulate recreational drones and work with manufacturers to develop built-in technological safeguards. The bill also prohibits weapons from being installed on drones and increases the penalty for drones interfering with wildfire responses.