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Aviation Industry Reacts to Buttigieg Nomination for Transportation Secretary

Aviation Industry Reacts to Buttigieg Nomination for Transportation Secretary
Joe Cortez

One day after president-elect Joe Biden announced he would nominate former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg for Transportation secretary, aviation stakeholders are reacting positively to the news. Unions and trade organizations are both hailing the appointment, and asking for the U.S. Senate to move forward.

After presidential transition team insiders predicted former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg as the next Transportation secretary, the industry is reacting with overwhelming positivity to the appointment. Several stakeholders have come out in support of the nomination, including the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and Airlines for America.

Unions and Trade Groups Express Support for Buttigieg Appointment

Three of the largest groups to support the appointment are three prominent unions in the aviation space. Although unions tend to be supportive of Democratic candidates, their enthusiasm for “Mayor Pete” is palpable.

The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents pilots at eight major airlines (including the three legacy carriers), said Buttigieg’s “…experience and sound judgement gives him a unique ability to oversee the largest and most complex aviation system in the world.” The group noted that the strong leadership could help airlines once again return to pre-pandemic levels.

“ALPA is proud of our long history of working closely with Department of Transportation officials to advance aviation and ensure that the United States continues to usher millions of passengers and cargo safely to global destinations each and every day,” Capt. Joe DePete, president of ALPA International, said in a press release. “We look forward to working with and assisting Mr. Buttigieg in his role as Secretary of Transportation.”

In a much longer statement, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA celebrated Buttigieg’s experience as a former presidential candidate and officer in the United States Navy. Union president Sara Nelson noted the appointment “…signals immediate focus and urgency for the nation’s transportation policy and infrastructure, a welcome change for aviation workers.”

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, representing 20,000 air aviation safety employees across the country, also endorsed Buttigieg. In their statement, the group noted that their work with the DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration will be key in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, and called on the U.S. Senate to “begin its confirmation process in earnest.”

Airlines for America, the trade organization representing U.S. based carriers, also offered their congratulations. In a statement, group president Nicholas E. Calio said “Buttigieg has been engaged with transportation for many years, and we look forward to working with DOT under his strong leadership as we resume connecting American communities, families and businesses with each other and with the rest of the world.”

Airports Council International – North America did not issue a statement on the appointment. Their last comment on the 2020 election came on Nov. 24, 2020, in a letter congratulating president-elect Joe Biden on his win while outlining the “top airport industry priorities moving forward.”

Buttigieg Beats Out Other Well-Known Candidates For Transportation Chief Role

Although Buttigieg has no direct experience managing transportation systems, he was successful in beating out several well-known candidates for the position. The other candidates in the mix included two former high-ranking DOT employees, former Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel and current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Feature image courtesy: kmf164/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

View Comments (15)


  1. cscasi

    December 17, 2020 at 5:57 am

    Why not Buttigieg? He knows nothing about transportation and safety. He will fit right in with some of the other figureheads drawing a government salary and doing nothing for our country.

  2. schelsr

    December 17, 2020 at 6:32 am

    Yeah. The FAs will love him (like literally). Just what’s needed: Leftist props for travel.

  3. cairns

    December 17, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Sadly this is indicative of the quality we can expect from other Biden appointees. An ineffective mayor with absolutely no knowledge of or training in transpiration of any type with a history of pandering to union money. He’s perfect.

  4. PaulMSN

    December 17, 2020 at 11:01 am

    All the current figureheads are Trump appointees.

  5. edgewood49

    December 17, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Of course they are going to congratulate him for the next four years at least he will be Transportation Secretary for heavens sake. Just the beginning of the movement to the left.

  6. BC Shelby

    December 17, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    …no experience or background in transportation, but he beat out other (possibly more qualified) candidates so that’s good enough I guess. I would expect as much form the Trump Regime as this feels a bit more like a “Ben Carson” appointment. .Actually surprised that Mr. Biden didn’t nominate someone with a background in or ties to rail operations as he is a proponent of rail transportation.


    December 17, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Congrats to Mr. Buttigieg. He is incredibly smart and I believe quite capable of being a success at whatever he puts his hands to. Best of luck Mr. Buttigieg. I wanted you to be posted to the UN given your facility with multiple languages, but you will do well here.

  8. jjmoore

    December 17, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Just like DemocRAT politicians do best – they choose the most ignorant, unproven people to fill positions they didn’t even know how to spell in the moments leading up to the nominations.

    Pete will live up to his name (in South Bend – the city that he destroyed).

  9. cmd320

    December 17, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    I would have thought the quota was met by now… will anyone with an actual resume be appointed to a cabinet position?

  10. cairns

    December 17, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    incredibly smart is the very last thing I would say about him. Pandering politician is the first. A shame Joe couldn’t have added a little more research to an article that basically states lobbyists revere their new master.

  11. bostontraveler

    December 18, 2020 at 4:00 am

    @jjmoore “Just like DemocRAT politicians do best – they choose the most ignorant, unproven people to fill positions they didn’t even know how to spell in the moments leading up to the nominations.”

    HAHAHAHA where have you been for the past 4 years? Have you missed er, pretty much every single appointee of this horrendous Trump administration?

    As for spelling, I think Pete will do quite well in that arena. Certainly better than the Trumpsters who typically have the worst command of the English language (and lack critical thinking skills).

  12. alangore


    December 19, 2020 at 5:56 am

    I’m hoping that this nomination will give us a more consumer-oriented DOT. 2020 has been a year of giant mistakes, but not attaching consumer stipulations to the billions in transportation subsidy cash that we just handed over is the biggest mistake of all.

  13. Aloha1

    December 20, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    So typical comments from the left. We have officially arrived at the Idiocracy. God help us during the next 4 years.

  14. daninstl

    January 5, 2021 at 3:52 am

    A person that worked for McKinsey who seem to destroy everything they touch from an employee standpoint. Worked as an intelligence officer in the Navy which doesn’t seem to have anything to do with transportation. Was a mayor of a moderate-sized town in Indiana. Seems like the requirement for the job is to be politically connected. I’m sure this will end well.

  15. bxwatso

    January 8, 2021 at 9:43 am

    New green mandates for airplanes. Maybe forcing flight cancellations if the load factor is too low? Maybe forcing carbon offsets in ticket prices? Maybe a new fuel tax?
    Everything the Biden Administration will do will have a green element.

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