Congress is on the verge of passing a new aviation bill that will include stringent new requirements for airline safety, including increasing the amount of experience pilots must have and introduce fatigue management programs at major airlines.
The bill has been a long-time coming, as the non-safety parts of the legislation have been in deliberation for four years, according to the Associated Press. The current incarnation has widespread support from both sides of the chamber.
Senator Jay Rockefeller told the news source that the new measures take "a big step forward in improving the safety of our skies."
Under the new law, the minimum experience for pilots at the level of first official will be raised form 250 hours to 1,500. Airlines will also introduce revised fatigue management systems in order to ensure that pilots' schedules are not too strenuous and they are operating on an appropriate amount of sleep.
The safety measures come after the last six crashes in the U.S. were caused by regional airlines. Safety advocates say that many regional airline pilots are inexperienced compared to their major carrier counterparts, and the smaller airlines do not have as rigorous safety guidelines.
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