RAA Statement for the Record for COVID-19 Hearing

Washington, DC, May 6, 2020. Media contact: media@raa.org.  

This afternoon, the Regional Airline Association (RAA) provided written testimony from President and CEO Faye Malarkey Black for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation hearing entitled, “The State of the Aviation Industry: Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” RAA updated the Committee on the current status of the regional airline industry and shared the actions the industry is taking to safeguard crewmembers, passengers and support partners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RAA discussed some of the proactive steps its member airlines have taken to mitigate safety risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, both independently and by working closely with mainline partners. This includes meticulous implementation of safety guidelines issues by the FAA in collaboration with the CDC.

Black additionally praised the Committee and its staff for their role in enacting swift and meaningful measures to assist air carriers with the economic shock of the coronavirus contagion. Stressing the direct correlation between regional airline health and the continuation of air service to smaller communities, Black called the CARES Act a “lifeline” for regional airline workers. Black noted that regional carriers have vastly different compositions from major airlines and, with more limited resources to shoulder the economic impact of the Coronavirus, the industry faces a continued, existential threat.

Black stated, “While larger cities, with historically high yield, higher density traffic may be confident that air service will return when the crisis passes, those US airports served exclusively or primarily by regional airlines are vastly more vulnerable.”

Because regional airlines are critical contributors to the air transportation system and provide the only source of air service to smaller airports, Black emphasized that healthy regional airlines are needed to ensure economic recovery at the state and local level.  

Black pledged partnership with Congress and other stakeholders moving forward, concluding, “We look forward to the day when we can safely bring air service back to communities of all sizes.”

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 41% of scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to 63% of the nation’s airports. Notably, regional airlines provide over 70% of the air service in the following states: SD, MS, MT, ME, KS, AL, IA, WV, ND, AK, AR, ID, NE and WY.