Posted on: 03 February 2016 by Mark Howells
The Regional Airline Association, representing 26 North American regional airlines, has announced its opposition to the introduction of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act in its current form.
The Association stated: “We cannot support an ATC entity that leaves an industry that operates 45% of the nation’s commercial flights without representation in the proposed new corporation. This bill places tremendous cost pressure on the regional airline industry while leaving us voiceless in all decisions made under the new ATC corporation. It is particularly concerning that the bill leaves questions about charges and fees unanswered, with variables like the role of weight, distance, or other factors important to regional airlines to be determined by a governance board dominated by mainline air carrier representatives.
“The success of our airlines’ mainline partners is critical to our own industry’s health,” remarked RAA president Faye Malarkey Black. “However, regional airlines play a very important – and a very distinct – role in providing the nation’s air service. Regional airlines must have their own clear voice in this process.”
“Without our own voice, regional airlines are left vulnerable to exponential cost increases. Even under projected ‘best-likely-case’ scenarios, early modelling exercises demonstrate massive cost increases for regional airline flights compared to the current tax environment,” Black continued. “These cost increases place significant and unfavourable cost pressure on the regional airline industry and stand to further erode air service to small and medium-sized communities across the country.
“Given that regional airlines are the only source of scheduled air service at nearly three-quarters of our nation’s airports, this proposal has the potential to wreak havoc on rural America,” she warned.
“We are committed to a safe, efficient, and accountable ATC system. Therefore, the Regional Airline Association will continue to work with Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, and all Members of Congress to put together a bill that makes economic sense while increasing safety and delivering efficiencies for all stakeholders,” Black concluded.