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Wednesday, October 03, 2018
Senate Approves American Samoa Airline Cabotage Reform
By News Release @ 2:54 PM :: 978 Views :: Jones Act, Small Business, Tourism

U.S. Senate Approves Amata’s Cabotage Bill for American Samoa

News Release from Office of Rep Aumua Amata (R-AS) October 3, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed U.S. Senate approval of her cabotage bill to promote reliable air service in American Samoa.

Additionally, the bill, led in the House by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) – who visited American Samoa earlier this year – ensures FAA funding for five years and includes other features, such as directing the FAA to establish a minimum seat size in U.S. passenger jet aircraft on behalf of passengers.

“Our bill is now through Congress completely, and has been sent to the President to be signed into law,” said Aumua Amata. “We continue to work for the best possible air service for American Samoa. This change will help hold down costs for our people as they travel between Manu’a and Tutuila, and along with the recently announced multimillion dollar federal transportation project for better pavement at our Pago Pago International Airport, we continue to see important successes.”

By a wide bipartisan vote margin of 93-6, the Senate passed the House bill, which directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the next five years, including Congresswoman Amata’s cabotage air service provision. This was the final legislative step in the effort, which President Trump is expected to sign into law. The House had already passed this bill on September 27 as the former FAA authorization expired. The FAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, directed by Secretary Elaine Chao.

“I’d like to specially thank Chairman Shuster for incorporating our bill into the five-year FAA legislation, and Chairman Orrin Hatch for supporting us in the Senate,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “I also greatly appreciate Secretary Chao and FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell for hearing our concern about our airport’s needs, and prioritizing our major paving project.”

Specifically, Amata’s cabotage provision streamlines the requirement of the foreign carriers who service the routes between Tutuila and Manu'a to reduce unnecessary paperwork and costs. Previously, the carrier was required to apply for waivers every 30 days, but this action will reduce that application requirement to every six months to promote uninterrupted service. Amata’s initial legislation was a bipartisan bill, H.R. 276, passed by the House of Representatives in 2017, then with Chairman Shuster’s support, adopted into the FAA authorization, itself combined with broader legislation as H.R. 302.

 *   *   *   *   *

Amata’s Cabotage Bill Advances

News Release from Congresswoman Aumua Amata, (R-AS) September 27, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Thursday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed the advancement of her cabotage bill to promote reliable air service in American Samoa. The provision is part of a renewed push in Congress to complete re-authorization this month for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

On Wednesday, the House passed a revised FAA authorization bill with her air service provision, also known as cabotage, but there are important new factors since the last time her measure passed the House in April. This time, a September 30 deadline on the FAA’s previous authorization necessitates action on the part of Congress, while the updates to the FAA bill are broadly bipartisan, passing with unanimous consent in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, led by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), provides five years of FAA authorization, and includes other features, such as regulating seat size in U.S. passenger jet aircraft on behalf of passengers.

The bill with key revisions has been sent to the Senate for further action. Sen. Orrin Hatch, Chairman on the influential Senate Finance Committee, is already on the record publicly supporting an identical provision to Congresswoman Amata’s legislation on behalf of American Samoa’s local island to island aviation.

“This would be a major legislative success for American Samoa,” said Aumua Amata. “This legislation has broad support in Congress and a deadline, so I’m optimistic our provision could see the finish line shortly. It’s important to do all we can to ensure reliable air service in American Samoa. This change will help hold down costs for our people as they travel between islands.”

Amata’s provision streamlines the requirement of foreign carriers who service the routes between Tutuila and Manu'a to reduce unnecessary paperwork. Currently, the carrier must apply for waivers every 30 days, but the legislation reduces that application requirement to every six months. Congresswoman Amata’s initial legislation was a bipartisan bill, H.R. 276, passed by the House of Representatives in 2017, then adopted into the larger FAA bill. Her plan amends Title 49, United States Code, so that American Samoa can count on air service between islands.

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