House passes sweeping bill on pilot qualifications

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would effectively increase the minimum flight time for commercial pilots to 1,500 hours, up from the current standard of 250 hours. The bill could result in higher pilot salaries, according to its sponsors. Also included in the measure: pre-employment screening, remedial training and new studies on pilot rest. "This is the strongest aviation safety bill considered since the creation of the FAA in 1958," said Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., one of the bill's sponsors. Airlines would like to see "further refinements" in the measure, said a spokeswoman for the Air Transport Association, noting that carriers and the FAA are already working on similar measures.

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