Washington, DC, December 21, 2020. Media contact: email@example.com
Following this evening’s passage of H.R. 133, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, by the House of Representatives and its anticipated passage by the Senate, Regional Airline Association (RAA) President and CEO Faye Malarkey Black offered the following statement:
“At long last, Congress has passed H.R. 133, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which also includes $900 billion in emergency spending to provide for COVID relief. This marks the culmination of relentless efforts from Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman Wicker (R-MI) and Ranking Member Cantwell (D-WA); and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member Graves (R-MO), to fully support our country’s aviation workforce. Additionally, passage of this bill would not have been possible without the leadership of Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME), along with an assembly of bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers determined to breakthrough partisan and procedural challenges to secure relief for families, workers and businesses that continue to struggle today under pressures brought by the pandemic.
We are especially appreciative that the bill includes a partial extension of the highly successful Payroll Support Program, which supports airline workers directly by keeping them on payroll, where they are needed. In fact, every dollar of this funding is provided exclusively in support of airline non-executive payroll. This truly employee-centered solution also benefits small communities by providing assistance to workers through payroll supports, rather than alternatives like unemployment, enabling regional airlines to continue to provide air service despite ongoing demand depression associated with the pandemic. This will help to ensure air service is available to communities of all sizes, when they need it to take part in the recovery.
The bill also supports smaller communities by renewing air service requirements passed previously under the CARES Act. The package also provides other assistance for small, regional-exclusive markets, including funding and flexibility for the Essential Air Service program and a boost to the Small Community Air Service Development Program, which will help communities mitigate damages associated with COVID-driven air service deterioration. Altogether, this support for regional airline workers and boost to programs supporting regional air service, demonstrates Congress’ clear commitment to small communities.
As we close out 2020, the regional airline industry now looks forward to the New Year with feelings of appreciation that Congress set aside partisan differences and did the right thing. We stand ready to work with the incoming 117th Congress on any additional measures needed to help more Americans through the pandemic and continue to strengthen regional air service to smaller communities.”
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable and strong regional airline industry. RAA serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines and industry business partners. In the United States, regional airlines operate 40% of scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to 66% of the nation’s airports. Regional airlines provide 75% or more of the air service in Alabama (76%), Alaska (88%), Arkansas (83%), Idaho (75%), Iowa (76%), Kansas (78%), Maine (77%), Mississippi (77%), Montana (78%), Nebraska (90%), North Dakota (87%), South Dakota (85%), Vermont (77%), West Virginia (92%), and Wyoming (78%). Regional airlines provide half or more of the air service in Indiana (61%), Kentucky (67%), Michigan (57%), New Hampshire (61%), New Mexico (53%), North Carolina (54%), Ohio (58%), Oklahoma (51%), Oregon (50%), Pennsylvania (53%), Rhode Island (54%), South Carolina (54%), Tennessee (47%), Virginia (58%) and Wisconsin (61%).