NACA Urges Prioritization of Aviation Workers for Vaccine Distribution

On December 8, NACA joined 16 other aviation industry organizations across management and labor to urge the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to prioritize aviation workers in the next phase of vaccine allocation. The letter states in part:

As you are aware, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has designated aviation workers as essential to maintaining our nation’s critical infrastructure. In addition, aviation workers are also frontline workers who either encounter the traveling public frequently or are required to perform our work in close proximity to our colleagues and require us to be onsite.

The vaccine distribution effort will be complex and involve extensive collaboration between federal and state governments along with private organizations. To succeed, the United States will need every asset available to perform optimally — including the frontline workers that keep our nation’s safe and efficient air transportation system operational.

Given the scientific, implementation and ethical considerations, we ask that you prioritize these frontline aviation workers in the next phase of vaccine allocation (Phase 1b) after health workers and residents in long term facilities in your upcoming recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The full text of the letter can be viewed here.

NACA urges passage of PARTT 147 Act

On December 7, NACA joined 22 organizations in the aviation industry to urge House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leadership to include the PARTT 147 Act (S.3043/H.R.5427) in the final version of the FAA certification reform bill. The letter states in part:

“Leading up to the pandemic, part 147 programs were not able to meet industry’s workforce demand; outdated and burdensome regulatory requirements exacerbated an already short supply of aviation technicians. Given the mass exodus of qualified personnel due to COVID-19, industry’s post-pandemic recovery is greatly dependent on its ability to efficiently and effectively replace the devastating loss of technical experience. Reform of part 147 is now more important than ever.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

NACA Joins Aviation Coalition Opposing Frequency Auction

On December 7, NACA joined 14 other aviation associations in a letter urging FCC Commissioners to suspend the auction of frequency spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band to the telecommunications industry. The letter states in part:

“Moving forward with the auction without fully addressing the potential for harmful interference to radar altimeters, and thus the threat to aviation safety, would be a disservice to the safety of the traveling public and put our nation’s airlines, business and general aviation, and helicopter operations at risk. We ask that the Commission grant the pending Petition for Reconsideration of the Report and Order filed by many of the undersigned and other aviation and aerospace associations and companies by adopting the recommended mitigations before proceeding with the auction.”

The  full text of the letter can be found here.

NACA Commends DOT for Final Rule on Service Animals on Flights

Chris Brown, the National Air Carrier Association’s Vice President for Government Affairs and Ultra Low-Cost Carrier Policy, issued the following statement today in response to publication of the Department of Transportation’s Final Rule in [Docket No. DOT–OST–2018–0068], “Traveling by Air with Service Animals”:
“NACA commends the U.S. Department of Transportation for issuing its final rule on traveling by air with service animals, which no longer considers emotional support animals as service animals under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).  This timely, well-reasoned regulatory action by the Department will further enhance passenger safety — the top priority of our passenger carriers — by ensuring that only trained service animals needed by individuals with disabilities are permitted on flights.”

NACA joins Airline Unions and Associations to urge PSP extension

NACA joined with 12 other associations and unions in the airline industry Wednesday, October 7, to urge Congress to resume negotiations with the administration to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP) for the aviation industry.

The letter stated, in part:

Since early summer, we have called for a COVID relief package that would address the dire economic consequences facing the entire transportation sector. Airline workers are already experiencing the impact of inaction and simply cannot wait any longer for federal aid.

During circumstances as dire and significant as these, an idea that enjoys resounding support from majorities in both parties and in both houses of Congress should not fail. We call on leaders to resolve any procedural issues and proceed as quickly as possible to extend the PSP in time to preserve this extremely effective and efficient jobs and infrastructure program.

Read the full letter here.

NACA Issues Statement on Introduction of Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020

In response to introduction of the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020, NACA President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement:

On behalf of NACA’s 18 member airlines, we applaud Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) for introducing the “Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020,” to extend the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP) included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

PSP extension will help U.S. airlines cover payroll expenses while passenger and cargo carriers recover from the unprecedented drop in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting tens of thousands U.S. airline jobs. It will also ensure our air carriers can continue to provide supplemental airlift to our armed services and support the national defense infrastructure, of which they are a critical component.

We look forward to working with Congress and the Trump Administration to ensure that the bill is enacted with strong bipartisan support before the end of the current fiscal year on October 1, 2020.

NACA offers its significant resources to Operation Warp Speed

On September 9, 2020, NACA President and CEO George Novak sent a letter to Gen. Gustave Perna, leader of Operation Warp Speed, to offer assistance and encouraging the time-critical vaccine delivery project to make better use of vast U.S. commercial airlift capabilities in accomplishing its vital mission. The letter was copied to the Secretaries of Defense, Transportation, and Health and Human Services.

“Operation Warp Speed is preparing for a critical, time-sensitive mission,” Novak said in a statement. “As part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, NACA’s members have proven capability in providing on-demand support to the U.S. Armed Forces with little notice throughout North America. It’s important that the leaders of Operation Warp Speed use all of the assets at their disposal as they plan for distribution of the vaccines. We look forward to working with them to determine how best to support their mission.”

In part, the letter states:

” … it is our understanding there are significant logistical challenges associated with the imminent requirement for distribution of the vaccines. We are deeply concerned by the strong possibility of disruptions in the system if the effort to move vaccines across the country is restricted to only one or two large air cargo carriers … The complexity and importance of this critical task can best be addressed by a unified national effort from significant portions of the U.S. air cargo industry. A more diversified airlift fleet can not only cover more of the U.S. population more quickly and efficiently but can also provide protection from unforeseen disruptions to an overly narrow distribution channel … The involvement of these cargo carriers, along with others, will ensure disruptions are minimized and we are meeting this mission at the national level involving every asset, expertise and capability at our disposal.”

Read the full text of the letter here.

Doell Re-Appointed to TSA ASAC

NACA Vice President of Government Affairs and Security Policy Paul Doell was re-appointed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske on August 20, 2020, to a second two-year term on TSA’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC). The ASAC is a congressionally-mandated committee of aviation industry stakeholders to consult on aviation security matters, including policies, programs, rulemaking, and security directives pertaining to aviation security.

“It’s an honor to be re-appointed to this prestigious advisory committee and represent the views of NACA’s diverse group of airlines,” Doell said. “I look forward to working with my distinguished colleagues on the committee to provide the best information and advice possible to the Administrator.”

Administrator Pekoske announced 4 new members and re-appointed 15 members to the ASAC. The announcement can be found here:

NACA President appears on Aviation Week Fireside Chat

NACA President and CEO George Novak appeared on a Fireside Chat webinar with ATW Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The discussion covered a variety of topics related to the impact of COVID-19 and associated new regulations on air travel and the air carriers that NACA serves.

To watch the video, please register free here.

NACA Proposes SAFETY Protocols for Resumption of Commercial Air Travel

NACA releases “SAFETY: The Necessary Elements to Return Passengers to the Skies,” outlining principles for the U.S. airline industry to resume regular operations.

Arlington, Va. – The National Air Carrier Association (NACA) today issued an initial set of principles for the resumption of regular commercial flight operations in the wake of the economic and societal disruptions unleashed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “SAFETY: The Necessary Elements to Return Passengers to the Skies,” outlines actions NACA believes must be taken to ensure that the U.S. airline industry can restore public confidence and be a safe catalyst for economic recovery.

“The SAFETY principles are a critical first step in what we believe should be a collaborative planning process between the federal government and industry stakeholders for U.S. airlines to resume normal flight operations when it is safe to do so,” said NACA President and CEO George Novak. “The U.S. airline industry will be a vital component of America’s economic recovery. To be successful, the public must be confident that they can fly with us without risking infection from COVID-19.”

SAFETY is an acronym, referring to:

  • Safety: Every effort must be taken to ensure that passengers, crews and those working on aircraft are protected from further exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
  • Access: Access to air travel – and the resulting consumer spending at hotels, restaurants, resorts and retail establishments – will be a critical element of the economic recovery.
  • Flexibility: Airlines must have the flexibility to shift aircraft and routes to meet demand as it ebbs and flows during the recovery.
  • Economic Viability: Restrictions on air travel cannot be so stringent that passengers can’t fly easily and affordably, and airlines can’t return to profitability and protect jobs.
  • Testing: The federal government must work quickly and methodically to deploy a measured approach to COVID-19 testing in airports that utilizes the latest technologies for both screening (e.g., non-contact temperature scanning and effective antibody testing) and credentialing (biometric or tamper-proof identification systems) for those safe to fly and interact with others.
  • You: The most critical element in returning to the skies is you. You are the reason we fly. More than anything else, we care about your health and safety and helping you return to better days.

A pamphlet with more detail on the SAFETY principles can be found on NACA’s website here.

“America’s economic recovery will require enormous, coordinated efforts from governments, industries and people across the nation,” Novak said. “We look forward to working with all stakeholders to plan for resuming regular activities and hope the SAFETY principles serve to kickstart those discussions.”