Chairing First Senate Aviation Subcommittee Hearing, Sinema Highlights Need to Save Aviation Jobs and Prioritize Health Protections During Pandemic

Apr 21, 2021

Sinema welcomed aviation industry witnesses including Charlene Reynolds, the Assistant Aviation Director for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema led the first hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations, and Innovation since becoming Chair of the panel. During her hearing, Sinema highlighted the many challenges facing the aviation industry due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and called for continued efforts to save aviation jobs and continue prioritizing health protections as we begin our economic recovery.
“When the coronavirus pandemic began and aviation jobs were at immediate risk, our efforts passing critical targeted federal relief saved jobs and protected essential travel…Now, as we prepare for a full economic recovery, we are focusing on ensuring the industry keeps implementing best health practices to protect workers and passengers in the months to come,” said Sinema.
At today’s hearing, Sinema welcomed witnesses including Charlene Reynolds, the Assistant Aviation Director of the Phoenix Department of Aviation, which owns and operates Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Sara Nelson, the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Nick Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America, and Dr. Leonard Marcus, the founding Director of the Program for Health Care Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a co-director of the Aviation Public Health Initiative.
Sinema discussed her efforts passing the bipartisan Payroll Support Program, AIR Act, and aviation loan assistance program – programs ensuring essential travel would continue through the pandemic, airports would continue to receive federal funding based on passenger traffic, jobs would be saved, and the industry would be ready to support the recovery as vaccination numbers increase. Sinema heard from witnesses about the positive impacts these programs had on saving jobs and preventing the airline industry from collapse.
Sinema also highlighted the positive health precautions at airports and aboard aircraft that have been successfully implemented to protect aviation workers and passengers during the coronavirus pandemic. Sinema called on the administration to extend mask requirements on airplanes to ensure confidence in safe air travel continues.