The US Senate has approved a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding bill that includes numerous safety and passenger-related provisions and a measure that would exempt Boeing’s 767 Freighter from emissions requirements for five years.

Passed by a 88-4 margin by the Senate on 9 May, the bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. As written, it would authorise $105 billion in funding for the FAA through fiscal year 2028.

Notably, it would grant newly manufactured cargo aircraft a five-year exemption from federal aircraft emissions standards. Current law requires new aircraft meet those standards starting on 1 January 2028 – a mandate that has created significant uncertainly about the future of the 767F.

FedEx 767F. FedEx

Source: FedEx

FedEx held unfilled orders for 15 767Fs at the end of March

If passed, the bill would push back the compliance date until 1 January 2033.

Boeing declines to comment specifically about the Senate’s provision, saying, “As we look ahead to future medium-widebody freighter options for our customers, the 767F continues to be the most efficient midsize freighter available”.

Boeing holds unfilled orders for 36 of the jets from FedEx and UPS, according to its data.

The Senate’s bill would also require commercial airliners be equipped with cockpit voice recorders that retain 25h of audio. It would take effect within one year for newly manufactured aircraft and within six years for in-service jets.

Current regulations require that the devices capture only 2h of audio, a factor that has long frustrated investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board. The FAA is currently working on a rule to require new aircraft, but not existing aircraft, be equipped with 25h recorders.

Additionally, the bill would order the FAA to evaluate the effectiveness of existing rules related a requirement that passengers be able to evacuate an aircraft within 90s.

Also, it would require airlines to refund passengers, upon request, the cost of tickets and ancillary fees for cancelled or “significantly delayed” flights – which it defines as 3h or more for domestic flights, and 6h-plus for international flights.

The Senate’s bill would also prohibit airlines from charging passengers extra money to sit with their family members.