February 13, 2019 Washington, D.C. – RAA has submitted written testimony for today’s House Subcommittee on Aviation hearing, Putting U.S. Aviation at Risk: The Impact of the Shutdown, warning that another shutdown would have unsustainable consequences for RAA’s 22 regional airline members and the 153 million passengers we serve each year.
Regional airlines play a critical role in the U.S. air transport system, operating 41% of all commercial airline departures. Further, 409 airports (about two-thirds of our nation’s commercial airports) are too small to support air service from larger airlines with larger aircraft, yet still need reliable air service to connect with loved ones, business contacts, travel destinations and the global economy. For these 409 airports, regional airlines provide the only source of scheduled, commercial air service.
RAA is gravely concerned at the prospect of another shutdown on February 15 and the negative impact this would carry for the commercial aviation system. While RAA firmly believes the best scenario is avoiding future shutdowns altogether, we support HR 1108, the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019, to protect the U.S. aviation industry during any future shutdowns that do take place.
A healthy, reliable and safe aviation system is only possible with the collaboration and cooperation of all aviation stakeholders and the federal government. Another shutdown would again seriously impact airline operations and should be avoided. However, if a shutdown cannot be prevented, steps must be taken to ensure the full operation of the FAA throughout.
In addition to the highly-visible impacts of the 35-day shutdown on the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration, regional airlines experienced other shutdown-related consequences that impacted our operations and passengers. Future government shutdowns would bring these same consequences and more, with problems compounding as the duration extends.
We encourage President Trump and leaders in Congress to reach a long-term solution for government funding, giving passengers confidence that airline operations will continue and their future travel plans will not be disrupted.
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable and robust regional airline industry. RAA serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines, industry business partners and government regulators, and promotes the interests of regional airlines in a changing business environment. In the United States, regional airlines operate 41 percent of scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to nearly two-thirds of the nation’s airports.