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US aviation: politics and commercial interests cast shadows over smooth FAA reauthorisation

Premium Analysis

Despite calls for US lawmakers to set aside politics to ensure a timely passage for FAA reauthorisation, the bill's fate is subject to a political imbroglio regarding a dispute over changing operations at Washington Reagan National airport and potential changes to rules governing the training of commercial pilots.

The wrangling occurs at a time when the US airline industry is pushing for modernisation of the country's air traffic control system, and is also navigating a shortage of air traffic controllers and supporters.

Opponents of the changes are stepping up rhetoric to support their respective positions, leaving a political firestorm around changes at the airport and lower pilot training hours and putting FAA reauthorisation in somewhat of a limbo.

There's a disconnect between the industry's concerns and the concerted effort by two of the US' largest airlines to preserve the status quo at Washington National and make changes to the airport's service patterns.

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