U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao today announced the formation of the Air Carrier Access Act Advisory Committee. The ACAA Advisory Committee is being established pursuant to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. Secretary Chao also announced the appointment of Prospect Airport Services Senior Vice President of Risk Management Jo Ann Storie to the Committee, along with 18 other members. Storie will serve as the representative of contract service providers. The Secretary selected committee members for their expertise as well as their willingness and ability to actively participate in meeting the ACAA Advisory Committee’s objective.
Jo Ann Storie has served Prospect Airport Services since 2002, most recently in her current role, Senior Vice President of Risk Management. Jo Ann has decades of experience in aviation risk management, safety and training, and disability-related access issues in the transportation industry. Prospect has a stellar record of serving the disability community with care, compassion and respect for over 50 years.
The ACAA Advisory Committee will advise the Secretary about issues relating to the air travel needs of passengers with disabilities. It will identify and assess disability-related access barriers encountered by air travelers with disabilities, evaluate the extent to which DOT’s programs and activities are addressing these disability-related access barriers, and recommend actions to improve the air travel experience of passengers with disabilities. On or before November 20, 2020, the ACAA Advisory Committee will submit a report to the Secretary on the needs of passengers with disabilities in air travel.
The first meeting of the ACAA Advisory Committee is expected to occur in early 2020 and will be open to the public. The Department will issue a Federal Register notice announcing the date of the first meeting after coordinating with the ACAA Advisory Committee members. Within six months of its first meeting, the ACAA Advisory Committee will submit a report to the Secretary and appropriate committees of Congress on whether current regulations with respect to practices for ticketing, pre-flight seat assignments, access to bulkhead seating, and stowing of assistive devices for passengers with disabilities should be modified.
As required by the FAA Act, the Secretary has appointed at least one representative from each of the following groups: passengers with disabilities; national disability organizations; air carriers; airport operators; contractor service providers; aircraft manufacturers; wheelchair manufacturers; and national veterans’ organizations representing disabled veterans. For certain categories, there are more than one representative to ensure multiple perspectives are represented and membership is balanced.
In selecting ACAA Advisory Committee members, the Secretary focused on four main criteria: (1) representativeness (does the applicant represent a significant stakeholder group described above); (2) expertise (does the applicant bring essential knowledge, expertise, and/or experience regarding accessibility); (3) balance (do selected applicants comprise a balanced array of representative and expert stakeholders); and (4) willingness to participate fully (is the applicant able and willing to attend the listed meetings and generally contribute constructively to a rigorous policy development process).
In addition to Storie, the ACAA Advisory Committee members selected by the Secretary are:
Michelle Albert, Interior Technical Fellow, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, as representative of aircraft manufacturers.
Zainab Alkebsi, Policy Counsel, National Association of the Deaf, as representative of national disability organizations.
Heather Ansley, Associate Executive Director of Government Relations, Paralyzed Veterans of America, as representative of national veterans’ organizations representing disabled veterans.
Tom Devine, General Counsel, Airports Council International – North America, as representative of airport operators.
Dana Folsom, Corporate Compliance Disability Program Manager, Delta Air Lines, as representative of air carriers.
Mark Greig, Vice President of Research and Development, Sunrise Medical, as representative of wheelchair manufacturers.
E. Keith Hansen, Vice President, Airports and Government Affairs, Allegiant Air, as representative of air carriers.
Doug Lavin, Vice President, North America, International Airline Transport Association, as representative of air carriers.
Nicholas LiBassi, Vice President, Partnership Expansion, United Spinal Association, as representative of national disability organizations.
Paige Mazzoni, Chief Executive Officer, Canine Companions for Independence, as representative of national disability organizations.
Doug Mullen, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Airlines for America, as representative of air carriers.
Ramakant Rambhatla, Vice President of Engineering and Chief Engineer, Invacare Corporation, as representative of wheelchair manufacturers.
Lawrence Rolon, Coordinator for Disability Services, Los Angeles World Airports, as representative of airport operators.
Kenneth Shiotani, Senior Staff Attorney, National Disability Rights Network, as representative of national disability organizations.
James Sinocchi as representative of passengers with disabilities and chair of the ACAA Advisory Committee.
Claire Stanley, Advocacy and Outreach Specialist, American Council of the Blind, as representative of national disability organizations.
Kristin Stephenson, Senior Vice President and Chief Policy and Community Engagement Officer, Muscular Dystrophy Association, as representative of national disability organizations.
Gregory Reed, Advisor and Member, Disabled American Veterans, as representative of national veterans’ organizations representing disabled veterans.
Updates on the ACAA Advisory Committee can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/ACAACommittee.
The Committee’s charter is available online.