NACA applauds President Biden for the issuance of the Executive Order Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel — particularly the provisions requiring that masks be worn on commercial aircraft and in airports. This is a critical and long-overdue step to ensure the safety of passengers, crewmembers and those working at airports and to eliminate any lingering uncertainty regarding mask requirements in commercial aviation. NACA carriers look forward to working collaboratively with Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, their staff and other aviation stakeholders to quickly develop the necessary regulations and practices to implement and enforce this crucial and timely mandate.
We are disappointed that DOT squandered an opportunity to enhance competition at slot-constrained airports JFK and DCA, by including highly inadequate divestiture requirements as a condition of the Department’s approval of their anti-competitive alliance. However, we look forward to working with Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg — who indicated at his nomination hearing yesterday that he recognizes the benefits to the traveling public of enhancing competition at small and large airports — to improve market access for ULCCs at these and other concentrated markets, lowering fares for travelers.
In response to the FAA Order directing a “Stricter legal enforcement policy against unruly airline passengers in the wake of recent, troubling incidents,” NACA President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement on Jan. 14, 2021:
“We commend FAA Administrator Steve Dickson for strengthening FAA’s unruly passenger policy in light of last week’s tragic events at the U.S. Capitol. This bold action will deter such behavior on flights and further enhance aviation safety. NACA will continue working with our government partners, airline unions and other industry stakeholders to ensure the safety of our passengers and flight crews.”
On December 21, NACA President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement on passage of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act:
NACA commends Congress for passing the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act with broad bipartisan support, including an extension of the CARES Act Airline Payroll Support Program (PSP). We particularly thank congressional transportation leaders, including Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.), and their staffs for supporting PSP extension, which protects and helps restore thousands of U.S. airline jobs at a critical time when industry’s employment is at its lowest level in several decades.
NACA President and CEO George Novak issued the following statement December 16, in response to the announcement of President-Elect Biden’s choice of former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg to be Transportation Secretary in the next administration:
The National Air Carrier Association (NACA) applauds President-Elect Biden’s announcement of his intent to nominate former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg to be Transportation Secretary in the next administration. Buttigieg is extremely qualified for the position – his background in infrastructure and demonstrated attention to complex details will be tremendous assets in heading the Department of Transportation.
The transportation industry in general – and the aviation industry in particular – will play a vital role in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Transportation Secretary will lead a critical portion of those efforts, and NACA looks forward to working with Mayor Buttigieg to foster a regulatory environment that will reinforce our sector’s ability to safely and efficiently move people, goods and vaccines and drive a healthy economy.
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.
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.
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 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 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.