The clock is inexorably ticking towards Sept. 30, 2015, when FAA’s current authorization expires. US airlines and airports are already spending serious time preparing for next year’s FAA reauthorization debate in Congress. For those who have forgotten (many of us wish we could), the last FAA reauthorization was an embarrassing saga of epic Washington dysfunction that at its nadir featured a partial shutdown of the agency in the 2011 summer.
FAA’s authorization expired on Sept. 30, 2007 and, staggeringly, the next reauthorization wasn’t passed until February of 2012! The agency stayed afloat for more than four years via 23 temporary extensions—except for the two weeks in 2011 when it partially shut down because even a short-term extension couldn’t be agreed to by bickering lawmakers on Capitol Hill.