House panel approves $4 billion for airlines in 2019

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The House Appropriations Committee approved $4.8 billion for air carriers in 2019, a nearly $1 billion increase from the previous year.

The bill would fund the airlines for at least a year and a half, but lawmakers would need to raise another $3.3 billion.

The spending package would be nearly $4,500 for each passenger, a significant boost for air travel but still well short of the $9 billion lawmakers had originally requested.

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., and Appropriations ranking member Rodney Davis, D-Ill., said the spending package was designed to help airlines survive as the industry continues to grapple with the economic slowdown.

The legislation would also allow airlines to continue using foreign airports for some flights, as well as give Congress more flexibility in the way the government handles passenger traffic.

“We are in this for the long haul and it is time to put in the work to help ensure the health and well-being of American consumers, including our nation’s air travelers,” Davis said.

“I applaud the efforts of the Appropriations Committee to ensure that we are investing in the future of the American economy, and that we have the tools to ensure air travelers have access to the best air travel options.”

The House passed the bill on Thursday by a voice vote with 22 Democrats in favor and 10 Republicans opposed.

The Senate will need to ratify it before the House can act on the legislation.