US Regional Airlines look forward to new Administration

US regional airline industry may benefit from a new presidential administration, but the difficult operating and economic environment will continue to pose problems, speakers said yesterday at the SpeedNews Regional & Business Aviation Industry Suppliers Conference in Indian Wells, Calif.

Regional Airline Assn. VP-Legislative Affairs Faye Malarkey said the body is hopeful that Barack Obama’s incoming administration will be a catalyst for needed legislative relief. She said Obama has stated publicly that air traffic control modernization is a “high priority,” although a potential drawback to the new administration might be a greater willingness to side with unions in labor disputes. Nevertheless, she said new leadership will “change the landscape of some of the political discussions. I can’t imagine the new DOT could be any worse than the old DOT.” She called the department’s effort to relieve congestion at New York area airports by imposing slot auctions “insane” and expressed hope that Congress will block them in any impending economic stimulus legislation.