Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Aviation insurance policies new US Secretary of Transportation will and may pursue

Kenneth Quinn, Principal at International Aviation Law PLLC in the Washington DC metropolitan area, spoke to several aviation industry leaders after it was announced that Pete Buttigieg would be sworn in as the 19th Secretary of Transportation on February 19, 2021.

  1. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was named President-elect Joe Biden’s Secretary of Transportation in February.
  2. Aviation leaders have discussed what the new officer will – and should – focus on.
  3. With over a year of COVID-19 in everyone’s history, aviation has been hard hit by the coronavirus.

On the podium stood Michael Whitaker, who moved from attorney at TWA to head of alliances and international affairs at United Airlines. He was also CEO of a travel company in India and was appointed Assistant Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) here in the US. And now he’s at Hyundai and Air Mobility, where he leads global politics.

Participating in the discussion at this CAPA – Center for Aviation event was Sharon Pinkerton, who is currently Senior Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at A4A, the congressional and lobbying arm of the aviation industry in Washington, DC. She previously led Policy and Planning International at the US FAA, and she was also an officer on the House of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee with Florida Congressman Mica.

The panel was rounded off by Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, where she has her second term of four years. Sara is also a recently recovered COVID patient.

Ken Quinn:

Look, we’re having an amazing time in the world’s aerospace industry. And, Sara, you represent approximately 50,000 flight attendants, many of whom are out of work, hopefully with some pay with Congress support. But tell us how you think flight attendants in the aviation industry are doing now and how we will recover from this terrible time.

Sara Nelson:

First and foremost, Ken, thank you for recognizing the people on the front lines. And that’s what I focus on every day. Over my shoulder is a picture of Paul Frischkorn, a friend of mine who was also a long-time flight attendant and was the first to die of coronavirus. Due to the nature of our work, this may have been longer in our workspace than anyone else. And the virus is really the problem. We have to eradicate and contain the virus. We need to focus on and do things that are not only cosmetic when we do that, but actually make science-based efforts to get this out of our communities and out of our travel space.

And that starts with making sure everyone can get a vaccine and that we continue to adhere to the safety levels we use in aviation to limit the risk of spread. But it was a very stressful time for flight attendants because of course the health crisis, the biggest health crisis we’ve faced in over 100 years, was also the biggest aviation financial crisis of all time. And when you sum up all of the aviation industry’s previous crises and their economic impact, it doesn’t even come close to the effects of this pandemic.

We’re still in the thick of it. Although we are very happy that we now have an administration working on a plan to get rid of it. And also that we had the attention of Congress to support payroll. We had a disruption from October to December, but we are working to ensure that after the program ends on March 31st we actually have an extension to get through the rest of this vaccination process and the other side of the pandemic.

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