NACA urges Senate to Confirm Phil Washington as FAA Administrator

In response to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation hearings to consider the nomination of Phil Washington to be the next Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, National Air Carrier Association President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement:

“NACA strongly urges the Senate to move quickly to confirm Phil Washington as the next Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Given the wide variety of significant policy challenges facing the FAA, including 5G deployment, the scarcity of commercial airline pilots, ongoing modernization of the nation’s air traffic control system, and implementation of the upcoming FAA reauthorization legislation, it is critical that a permanent FAA Administrator is confirmed as quickly as possible.

Mr. Washington has decades of experience leading large, complex transportation organizations and successfully managing a wide-range of multi-million-dollar airport infrastructure and other transportation projects. His pragmatic and innovative approach to managing major transportation programs will be invaluable.

We therefore believe Mr. Washington is well-positioned to lead the agency and ensure that the United States continues to have the safest, most efficient air transportation system in the world, and we urge the Senate to confirm him expeditiously.”

NACA Supports FAA-Industry Safety Summit

In response to Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen’s call for a government-industry summit on aviation safety on February 14, 2023, NACA President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement:

The National Air Carrier Association fully supports the call for an FAA summit on safety to discuss recent incidents and broader trends to ensure the greatest level of safety of operations in our National Airspace System. It’s extremely important that the discussions include representation from all the diverse interests in the sector: passenger, cargo, charter, general aviation, and large and small carriers. We have great confidence that government and industry working together on a data-driven approach will yield the best results and increase safety across all operations.

NACA Commends Raising Mandatory Pilot Retirement Age in Omnibus

In response to the announcement of the provisions of the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, National Air Carrier Association President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement:
NACA commends Congress for including a provision in the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations legislation that would raise the mandatory retirement age of pilots for large, unscheduled charter operators from 65 to 70. We are certain that pilots in this age range that meet FAA’s health standards can fly safely in our  skies. Reflecting trends in improved health and longevity, the mandatory retirement age for pilots was last raised from 60 to 65 in 2007.
In fact, from a safety perspective, it makes little sense for only charter pilots to work up to five years longer, as opposed to commercial airline pilots, who continue to be required by the FAA to retire at the age of 65.  
As part of the upcoming FAA reauthorization legislation, we strongly encourage Congress to include pending legislation, the “Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act,” sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas), that would help alleviate the increasing shortage of commercial airline pilots in the near-term by raising the mandatory commercial pilot retirement age from 65 to 67.

NACA Announces New Member: Santa Claus Airlines

The National Air Carrier Association (NACA) is pleased to announce that Santa Claus Airlines has joined NACA as its 22nd airline member. Santa Claus Airlines – call sign “HOHOHO” – is a single-aircraft, single pilot operation with more than 650 million individual customers on every continent. The airline provides service to more than 190 million points and delivers more than 635,000 tons of cargo … all in an annual single-day operation.

“The scope of their operations is almost unbelievable,” said NACA President and CEO George Novak. “Though NACA wouldn’t normally admit a member airline that isn’t based in the United States, Santa Claus Airlines represents the best NACA principles of demonstrated flight safety and exemplary customer service, with no registered complaints in more than 200 years of operations.”

Though the aircraft is of vintage manufacture, it has nine engines (make: Rangifer tarandus), nullifying the need for any ETOPS certification. NACA has offered to assist Santa Claus Airlines with the installation of advanced avionics, an updated Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) to ensure flight safety for its upcoming 2022 operations, as we understand that its current aircraft flight safety equipment consists of a single red anti-collision light on the nacelle of the lead engine – affectionately known as “Rudolph.”

When asked if NACA had any Christmas wishes from its new member, Novak said:

Not for ourselves, but for millions of airline passengers throughout the United States. If it’s not too much trouble, NACA would wish for a much-improved professional pilot pipeline in the United States – consistent with the rest of the world – to address the well-documented short-term and long-term shortages of qualified commercial pilots that have denied air service to millions of very well-behaved boys and girls throughout the country. We’re hoping that Santa will grant our wish, because we at NACA have been very good ourselves.

Interested parties may track this “almost unbelievable” cargo operation on December 24 at

NACA Statement on DOT NPRM Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees

In response to the Department of Transportation issuing its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees,” National Air Carrier Association President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement:

 “Our ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) member airlines – Allegiant Air, Avelo Airlines, Breeze Airways, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines – welcome the opportunity to compete for Americans’ business in an open and transparent market. We strongly support many of the aviation-related initiatives in President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, including the rights of passengers to choose their airlines, passenger services and airports at fair prices in a fully open and competitive atmosphere. The ULCCs already ensure that consumers are fully educated about their ancillary options and have the ability to select the services they want at each stage of the booking process.

We urge DOT to refocus its regulatory agenda on executing those sections of the Competition Executive Order that actually will improve the passenger experience and enhance airline competition, by ensuring that ULCCs have greater access to the most congested and concentrated airline markets in the nation, resulting in lower fares and more service options for consumers.”

NACA congratulates TSA Administrator Pekoske on re-confirmation

In response to Senate confirmation of TSA Administrator David Pekoske for a second five-year term as administrator, National Air Carrier Association President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement:
NACA congratulates Administrator David Pekoske on his confirmation for a second five-year term as TSA’s Administrator. We strongly supported the Adminstrator’s nomination during this process and are pleased the Senate was able to act on it before the midterms. Administrator Pekoske has been been a highly effective leader, improving aviation security and closely collaborating with industry to achieve consistently positive results. We look forward to continuing to work with him as he directs an effective and constantly improving TSA.

NACA’s Doell Reappointed to TSA ASAC

The National Air Carrier Association is pleased to announce that NACA Vice President for Government Affairs and Security Policy Paul Doell was selected by TSA Administrator David Pekoske on September 9, 2022, for reappointment to the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) for a third 2-year term.

“I greatly appreciate Administrator Pekoske’s trust in me to serve another term on the ASAC,” Doell said. “I look forward to working to improve the security of our air transportation system over the next two years.”

Doell serves on the airline and air cargo subcommittees of the ASAC, where he represents the perspective of the air carrier members of NACA. To read TSA’s press release on the announcement, please visit their website here.

NACA calls for DOT Leadership on pilot supply

National Air Carrier Association President and CEO George Novak calls on Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to lead broad, data-driven dialogue on pilot supply issues.

The National Air Carrier Association called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg today to convene a meeting among all aviation stakeholders, including the major pilot unions and the Families of Continental Flight 3407, on possible solutions to increase the pilot supply and further enhance aviation safety, by the end of the year.

“Despite recent claims to the contrary, all aviation stakeholders – airlines, labor, the regulators and the flying public – have aviation safety as our first priority,” said NACA President and CEO George Novak. “Finger pointing is not leadership and mere claims and accusations, by any side, do not constitute facts.”

  • In 2022, the industry collectively needs to hire at least 7,500 pilots, yet the current number of new pilots produced is less than 5,000.
  • In the next five years, the industry will lose 12,000 active pilots due to the current regulatory mandate that pilots retire at age 65.
  • By 2030, the total shortfall of pilots will reach more than 28,000, resulting in $49 billion in lost revenue, nearly 1,800 grounded aircraft, and 174,000 lost U.S. airline jobs.

“We respectfully request that DOT convene this meeting by the end of the year, so that we can enter 2023 with some momentum,” Novak said. “Inaction, on all our parts, can no longer remain an option.”

Read NACA’s letter to Secretary Buttigieg here.

NACA supports “Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act”

In response to the introduction of the “Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act” on July 25, 2022, National Air Carrier Association President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement:

We commend Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas) for introducing the “Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act,” increasing the FAA’s mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots from 65 years-old to 67 without compromising aviation safety. This timely legislation will help mitigate the well-documented shortage of commercial airline pilots in the United States in the near-term.

Without robust legislative and regulatory action, airlines will continue to reduce service to less profitable smaller and rural communities at a time when demand for domestic air travel is exceeding pre-pandemic levels.  Reduced supply and high demand will increase airfares and reduce service options across the country, undermining both the U.S. airline industry’s nascent recovery and the overall economy.

We urge Members of Congress to cosponsor the Graham/Roy bill and work collaboratively with all aviation stakeholders to implement policies to reduce the pilot shortage in the long-term.

NACA joins TSA Panel on Summer Travel

National Air Carrier Association Vice President for Government Affairs and Security Policy Paul Doell represented NACA at a TSA press conference discussing the upcoming summer travel season at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on May 10, 2022.

(L to R: NACA VP for Government Affairs and Security Policy Paul Doell, RAA President and CEO Faye Malarkey Black, AAAE President and CEO Todd Hauptli, TSA Administrator David Pekoske, ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin Burke, A4A President and CEO Nick Calio, and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport CEO Sean Donohue)

“We appreciate Administrator Pekoske’s leadership in holding this summer kickoff event,” Doell said. “It gives us all an opportunity to highlight important issues travelers should remember for the very busy upcoming season.”

“As has been mentioned, the federal mask mandate has recently been lifted,” Doell continued. “This allows each passenger to make an individual decision as to whether masking is a necessary precaution. We ask that everyone respect each other’s choices and maintain the civility we all expect when traveling.”

“Lastly, if you haven’t traveled in some time, being prepared with the necessary travel documents and being aware of the wait at your local airport ahead of time will help make your trip as smooth as possible. We look forward to welcoming you on board this summer!”