President Joe Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget request for the US Transportation Department was delivered to the US Congress this March 11.

The overarching document contains funding to address training and safety issues across FAA’s portfolio. 

This budget unveiling is a legislative and bureaucratic departure point – as the new budget is starting to wind its ways through congressional committees with FAA oversight. Expect changes to the budget topline or individuals line items in this politically- and partisan-charged election year.   

Several extracts from the original budget documents follow.

Strengthening the ATC Workforce 

The administration is seeking to make good on its promises to rebuild the beleaguered US ATC workforce. Continuing on the path launched in FY 23 to streamline the path for controller hiring and actually place more personnel in control towers, this budget request includes $43.0 million to continue the hiring surge by hiring and training at least 2,000 new air traffic controllers in FY 25. As background, the FAA exceeded its goal to hire 1,500 controllers in FY 23 and plans to hire at least 1,800 in the remaining months of FY 24. Of additional interest, FAA continues to take innovative steps to recruit and retain prospective controller workforce members.


Training and safety remain foundations for the CAT editorial program and its events’ programs. FAA’s recent grounding of certain Boeing MAX 9 aircraft and stepped-up oversight of the OEM have reinforced the imperative to adequately fund FAA’s safety portfolio. On cue, this FY 25 budget request includes $1.8 billion for the Office of Aviation Safety to provide crucial support for air carrier surveillance, production oversight, and continued operational safety. 


Beyond the Budget Request

Unresolved training-related policy matters within the oversight of the US Congress have the potential to emerge during this budget season – in the form of amendments and, when necessary, additional funding requests. This dynamic was evident during the FY 24 FAA reauthorization bill process. In one case, a robust effort emerged, but failed, to change the current 1,500-hour rule for US pilot qualification (aka “the ATP rule”) by counting more hours completed in certified full-flight simulators in place of actual flight time. 

CAT will continue to follow and comment on the FY 25 FAA budget through this legislative cycle. The first near-term opportunity for additional insights will be during FAA Michael Whitaker’s keynote address at WATS 2024.

The overarching FY 25 Department of Transportation budget may be viewed in entirety here.

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