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Rep. Lewis Applauds House & Senate Passage of FAA Bill

October 3, 2018
Press Release
Includes Lewis Amendment to Prevent Airport Power Outages

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate passed H.R. 302, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes an amendment written by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in response to last December’s power outage at the Atlanta airport.  The bill passed the House of Representatives last Wednesday.

The Lewis Amendment allows Federal funds to be used to prevent power outages in passenger areas of the airport, something not allowed under current law.  Airports would be able to use funds from taxes and fees to improve the reliability of their power supplies, including by purchasing and installing generators and separating the main power supply and redundant power supply. 

“I am very glad that my amendment was included in the FAA Reauthorization Act that has now passed both the House and the Senate,” said Rep. Lewis.  “After the power outage last year, I learned that Federal funds could not be used to purchase generators for passenger areas of the airport. 

“I am very grateful no one was hurt last year, and I appreciate the dedicated work of emergency responders and airport and airline employees to assist travelers.  However, we must do all we can to ensure that similar events do not happen in the future.  I am glad that the City of Atlanta has taken steps to install backup generators at the airport.

“Keeping the lights on is a matter of public safety.  My amendment will help give airports like Hartsfield-Jackson the flexibility they need to keep passengers safe.  I am grateful to my colleagues for working with me on this issue.”

On December 17, 2017, an underground fire at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport disabled both the airport’s primary and backup power supplies.  This caused a power outage at the world’s busiest airport that lasted for 11 hours, cancelling hundreds of flights and stranding passengers and employees on planes and in dark terminals.