MS Society Endorses Air Carrier Access Amendments Act of 2023
March 2, 2023
Every five years the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is reauthorized to extend the agency's funding and authority. Currently FAA's authorization will end in 2023. Reauthorizing FAA gives Congress the ability to make significant changes and address obstacles to air travel. To take advantage of this opportunity, the MS Society has officially endorsed the “The Air Carrier Access Amendments Act of 2023” (S. 545/H.R. 1267). The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in the Senate and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV-01) in the House of Representatives, looks to address long standing air travel barriers for people with disabilities. Among other provisions the bill looks to:
- Ensure new airplanes are designed to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities by requiring airlines to meet defined accessibility standards addressing safe and effective boarding and deplaning, seating accommodations, and better stowage options for assistive devices.
- Require removal of access barriers on existing airplanes to the extent that it is readily achievable.
- Requiring the Secretary of Transportation to assess civil penalties for Air Carrier Access Act violations and refer patterns of discrimination to the Department of Justice;
- Improve enforcement by bringing standards in line with those of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Ensuring all covered gates, counters, ticketing areas, and customer services desks are accessible to individuals with disabilities.