Confirmed! Ray LaHood Approved As New DOT Secretary
Former Illinois congressman Ray LaHood was confirmed Thursday as US Secretary of Transportation, a move lauded by the Air Transport Association and Continental Airlines.
“ATA and its member airlines extend our congratulations to Ray LaHood on his confirmation as DOT secretary,” said ATA President and CEO James May. “We look forward to working with the secretary to continue to advance our core shared safety agenda while also working to reduce delays, consume fuel as efficiently as possible and make the best possible investments to meet the future needs of a growing, transportation-dependent economy.”
During Thursday’s confirmation hearings, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, focused LaHood’s attention to the issue of airport slot auctions… a controversial method of addressing air traffic congestion, proposed by the Bush Administration, which was staggeringly unpopular with ATA and US airlines.
In responding to Senator Hutchison’s question, LaHood maintained the prior administration’s proposal for auctions in the New York/New Jersey airports would not reduce congestion.
Continental Airlines CEO Larry Kellner said LaHood showed he was prepared to lead the Department in tackling a myriad of issues, including those faced by the air transportation sector.
“We look forward to working with Secretary LaHood and the Department of Transportation to help them reach their goals,” said Kellner.