RAA Applauds, Urges Passage of the Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act

Washington, DC, December 15, 2020. Media contact: media@raa.org

Following yesterday’s introduction of Covid-relief legislation backed by bicameral, bipartisan support, Regional Airline Association (RAA) President and CEO Faye Malarkey Black urged Congress to support the measure and offered the following statement:

“Yesterday, Congress formally introduced the Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act, marking a crucial step forward in the bipartisan, bicameral effort to bring much-needed relief to Americans who remain deeply impacted by the pandemic, including tens of thousands of displaced aviation workers, who could return to work if this legislation is enacted.

We are grateful 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 and we appreciate this truly employee-centered solution. In turn, small communities benefit because they rely on regional airline workers for their continued air service. The measure additionally supports small communities by renewing minimum air service requirements passed previously under the CARES Act and by providing additional funding and flexibility for the Essential Air Service program, to help ensure that no community is forced to exit the program because of decreased passenger demand driven by COVID. These and other measures, including a boost to the Small Community Air Service Development Program to help communities counter Covid-related air service loss, demonstrates Congress’ clear commitment to small communities served exclusively by regional airlines.

Today, two out of three US airports with scheduled, commercial air service rely on regional airlines exclusively for that service. These small community airports often lack the passenger traffic needed to support air service by larger aircraft. With fewer passengers traveling each day, these communities are less able to weather significant demand fluctuations, like those driven by the ongoing pandemic. The pandemic has caused great harm to these markets and many have experienced significant air service deterioration; in fact, one in five markets served this time last year is no longer being served today. This bill helps to correct that, acknowledging that communities need safe, reliable and convenient air service to rebuild their economies and take part in our nation’s recovery.

RAA and its members are pleased and grateful for this important legislation, which will help return aviation workers to their jobs and allow them to reconnect smaller communities. We thank the bipartisan, bicameral bill architects for their leadership on this issue and the countless lawmakers and hill staff who worked to get the details right on this bill. Congress must now come together in the same bipartisan spirit and pass this important relief legislation without delay.”

About RAA  
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%).