House aims to ease air travel delays with more money for air traffic controllers

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. mandatory / ˈmæn dəˌtɔr i / (adj.) – relating to something that must be done because a law or regulation requires it

    All staff must undergo mandatory basic training before doing any advanced training.

  2. plague / pleɪg / (v.) – to cause constant difficulty, trouble, or pain to someone

    A company that was plagued by financial problems and scandals has finally closed down.

  3. reconcile / ˈrɛk ənˌsaɪl / (v.) – to find a way for two or more different beliefs/ideas to exist or be acceptable at the same time

    The brothers reconciled their plans just before the holidays.

  4. string of (something) / strɪŋ ʌv / (idiom) – a set of connected or similar things and situations

    The volleyball team had a string of losses last season.

  5. simulator / ˈsɪm yəˌleɪ tər / (n.) – a machine that allows someone to experience real-world conditions and is usually used for training people

    He learned how to drive because of a simulator.


Read the text below.

The Federal Aviation Administration would get more money to hire air traffic controllers and the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots would be raised under a bill approved by the House.

The measure seeks to improve air travel, which has been plagued by delays and cancellations during its busiest times, and would reauthorize FAA programs for the next five years. It passed on a mostly bipartisan vote of 351-69.

The Senate is working on its version of the bill ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline for action. The two chambers will have to reconcile differences or else approve a short-term extension of existing FAA programs by then.

The House approval came after a string of votes on contentious issues. Lawmakers voted 243-139 to remove a provision that would have allowed more flight simulator hours to be credited toward the 1,500-hour in-flight requirement to become an airline pilot.

Smaller airlines lobbied for the change, saying it would ease a pilot shortage that is already causing a loss of service to smaller communities. But opponents including pilot unions said the change would undermine safety.

A provision raising the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots from 65 to 67 survived despite opposition from pilot groups.

The House rejected an effort to increase the number of long-haul flights at Reagan Washington National Airport. Delta Air Lines pushed for the increase, joined by lawmakers from cities hoping to get nonstop service to the airport near downtown Washington. Flights to and from the airport are generally limited to 1,250 miles.

Opponents said the airport is already too congested and that adding more flights would lead to more delays. United Airlines, with a major operation at farther-out Dulles Airport, lobbied against the increase in flights at National.

Many provisions in the House version of the legislation will affect airline consumers, including one that would roll back a Transportation Department regulation from 2011 requiring airlines to show the total price of a ticket upfront in advertising. Airlines could instead provide a link to the all-in price of a ticket.

Consumer advocates oppose the rollback, and the White House took their side, saying full-fare advertising is needed to help consumers do comparison shopping for tickets.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Do you think the House’s approval to raise the mandatory retirement for pilots is a positive step for the aviation industry? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, in what type of jobs or professions is it acceptable to raise the retirement age (ex. teaching, office-based profession)? Why? What about careers in which it’s not acceptable to increase the retirement age? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think the new rules in the legislation are fair for both the aviation industry and keeping travelers safe? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • As a consumer/passenger, what rules/policies would you like airlines to effectively implement (ex. more flexible cancellation and refund policies, compensation or alternative travel arrangements during delays)? Why? Discuss.