Washington, DC, February 2, 2021. Media contact: email@example.com
Following today’s confirmation of The Honorable Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Regional Airline Association (RAA) President and CEO Faye Malarkey Black offered this statement:
“We congratulate Secretary Pete Buttigieg on his confirmation to lead the Department of Transportation and believe the Secretary’s proven track record of leadership will serve him well in this role. During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Buttigieg offered a clear window into his depth of experience and his thoughtful and academic approach to policy development. We were particularly pleased to hear the Secretary emphasize the importance of transportation equity and the value of air service to smaller communities in response to Congressional questions. We believe Secretary Buttigieg will shape strong and effective transportation policy that ensures our safe and reliable air transportation system remains responsive – and available – to all users.
RAA was further encouraged by Secretary Buttigieg’s spoken commitment to the Essential Air Service program and recognition of the importance of small community air service. Strong measures, including support for these programs, will be needed to ensure smaller communities regain parity with urban centers for air transportation access. Smaller communities have lost air service recently, as the pandemic and related travel restrictions decimated air travel demand and forced airlines to cut workers and flights. In fact, one in five markets served at the end of 2019 was no longer being served at the end of 2020.
RAA additionally looks forward to working with Secretary Buttigieg on continued implementation of the Payroll Support Program and other measures, where intra-agency coordination is important to ensure smaller airlines gain fair access to relief measures. We also anticipate working closely with the Secretary to advance strong aviation workforce policies that ensure greater access to and affordability of pilot and technician education and training.
We warmly welcome the new Secretary of Transportation and look forward to advancing an American recovery with air service options that allow communities of all sizes to thrive again.”
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%).