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Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson testifies before a Senate panel examining safety certification of jetliners on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Pool/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday that the agency will "pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight," after unruly behavior took place on several flights to and from the Washington, D.C. area this week.

Driving the news: American Airlines is investigating an unruly and frightening episode on a flight to D.C., the night before a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Alaska Airlines said it had banned 14 passengers after a rowdy flight from an airport near Washington, D.C., to Seattle on Thursday, per Bloomberg.

  • The Association of Flight Attendants said in a statement Saturday that every "airline flying out of the region over the last several days has experienced incidents onboard." This included unruly behavior, as well as passengers refusing to wear face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

What they're saying: Federal law requires that passengers follow safety orders from flight attendants and pilots. "The FAA will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said.

  • The flagged behavior "includes unruly passenger behavior, which can distract, disrupt and threaten crew members’ ability to conduct their key safety functions,” he said.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, on Thursday urged the Transportation Security Administration and the FBI to add participants of Wednesday’s riot to the No-Fly List.

  • "This should include all individuals identified as having entered the Capitol building—an intrusion which threatened the safety of Members of Congress and staff and served as an attack on our Nation," Thompson said in a statement.
  • "Alleged perpetrators of a domestic terrorist attack who have been identified by the FBI should be held accountable.”

Worth nothing: At least five non-career FAA staff members resigned this week after Wednesday's deadly riot.

  • "Our colleagues’ decisions, given the gravity of yesterday’s events, are understandable," said FAA chief of staff Angela Stubblefield in a statement, per the Washington Post.
  • "Like all of us, they are outraged by the brazen and violent attack on one of the sacred institutions of American democracy.”

Go deeper

Cities prepare for home delivery by drone

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Federal Aviation Administration has released new and looser rules for flying drones over highly populated areas and at night, effectively laying a welcome mat for future aerial deliveries of takeout food, Amazon packages, prescription drugs — you name it.

Why it matters: While the prospect of Jetsons-style convenience with less street gridlock is tantalizing, there are still plenty of logistical hurdles, and it will take some time for cities to figure out how to manage low-altitude air traffic as routinely as they do today's road traffic.

55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.