Regional airlines provide critical links connecting communities throughout North America to the national and international air transport networks and the vast economic benefits that connectivity brings. It is likely that you have flown on regional airlines regularly. In many cases, flights with fewer than 100 seats feature major airline branding and are operated by regional airline partners under code-sharing agreements. These airlines have their own operating certificates and their own employees. Some regional airlines serve communities through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. Often, regional airlines are the only viable transportation link for small communities.
RAA provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable and strong regional airline industry and serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines and industry business partners, enabling them to share best practices.
For all the talk of digital connectivity—smartphones, tablets, the internet, social media and more—the underpinning of the modern world rests on a reliable, safe air transport network. You cannot have surgery via Twitter. You cannot attend a wedding or a funeral via FaceTime. A manufacturer needs a physical supply chain, and a small business cannot ship and receive goods over the internet.
There are 570 small community airports in the U.S., and air service to these airports generates $134 billion of economic activity in the respective communities. In addition, the 570 small community airports create 1 million jobs that generate $36 billion in wages and commensurate tax revenue to the states and communities that receive commercial air service.
RAA is particularly passionate about warning against an erosion of air service to small communities throughout the U.S. In part because of growing pilot shortage, 32 U.S. communities have lost all commercial air service since 2013. Another 42 airports have seen a 75% reduction in air service since 2013 and 77 airports have experienced a reduction of 50% or more. This causes a notable lessening of the quality of life and economic prospects for residents of these communities, making it harder for them to conduct business with long-distance partners, visit friends and family and have access to premium services, such as health care.
Each day, tens of thousands of Americans board regional airlines. Regional airlines in turn are committed to carrying those passengers—safely and reliably—to every corner of North America and beyond. To uphold this service, regional airlines must be heard when aviation policy is taking shape; without the service regional airlines provide, millions of Americans are literally cut off from the benefits of a modern, global economy.
Percentage of all scheduled passenger departures in 2021 operated by regional airlines.
Percentage of U.S. airports with scheduled passenger service to which regional airlines provide the only passenger air service.