Congressman Keller leads renewed effort to save regional airports

September 1, 2020
Press Release
Sends bipartisan letters urging the continued support of the aviation industry

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) led a bipartisan effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to save regional airports. The effort comes as Congress faces a September 30 deadline to extend critical funding to support to the aviation industry, which has announced layoffs and service suspension at regional airports across the nation, including Williamsport Regional Airport.

 

Congressman Keller sent separate letters signed by Republican and Democratic members of Congress to House and Senate leadership and American Airlines, reiterating the importance of passing a clean extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) to provide emergency relief to the airlines industry and its workers, and encouraging American Airlines to reaffirm its commitment to the local communities served by regional airports.

 

Due to the impending expiration of the PSP on September 30, American Airlines announced that it would suspend service to regional airports, including Williamsport Regional Airport, and enact involuntary staffing reductions beginning in early October.

 

The letter to American Airlines, signed by six other lawmakers who represent regional airports across the nation, urges the airline carrier to remain committed to the communities and jobs these airports support while Congress works to extend the PSP. 

 

“While we continue to work to pass emergency relief legislation, we are writing to encourage you to reaffirm your commitment to working with us and the regional airports we serve to protect jobs and maintain service,” the letter to American Airlines reads. “Decisions to lay off workers and suspend service, even temporarily, have a disastrous effect on local economies, particularly in the smaller communities that regional airports serve.”

 

In addition to Congressman Keller, signees of the letter to American Airlines include:

  • Congressman Gregory F. Murphy, M.D (NC-03)
  • Congressman G.K Butterfield (NC-01)
  • Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18)
  • Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13)
  • Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)
  • Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07)

 

Congressman Keller also led a separate letter to Congressional leadership, highlighting the dire situation of the aviation industry and the need to include an extension of the PSP in future COVID-19 relief legislation.

 

“The Payroll Support Program (PSP), authorized by the CARES Act, has proven to be an extremely successful program by providing payroll support directly to almost one million aviation workers and preventing airlines from conducting layoffs and service suspensions through September 30, 2020,” the letter reads. “As we approach PSP’s expiration on September 30, airlines have started to make tough decisions. If Congress does not act soon, airlines could be forced to continue to suspend or permanently end service to cities across the nation.”

 

In addition to Congressman Keller, signees of the letter to American Airlines include:

  • Congressman Gregory F. Murphy, M.D (NC-03)
  • Congressman G.K Butterfield (NC-01)
  • Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18)
  • Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13)
  • Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)
  • Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07)
  • Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03)
  • Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02
  • Congressman Bill Long (MO-07)

 

On the effort to extend PSP and support the aviation industry, Congressman Keller made the following statement:

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly had a prolonged negative impact on the aviation industry. With emergency federal aid to the airlines set to expire at the end of the month, the industry has been forced to make tough decisions. At the same time, local airports across the country, including Williamsport Regional Airport, have done their part to accommodate carriers and help to weather the impacts of COVID-19. It is critical that Congress quickly pass a clean extension of PSP and the airlines work with the local communities they serve to find long-term solutions to ensure the sustainability of our regional airports.”

 

American Airlines letter can be found here.

Congressional Leadership letter can be found here.

 

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