US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will serve as chairman of the Committee’s subcommittee on Aviation and Space, US Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has announced.

Cruz was previously chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, which was merged with the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Security and Competitiveness this week as part of a reconfiguration of the various subcommittees initiated by chairman Wicker.

“We look forward to working with Senate Commerce Committee chairman Wicker, Aviation Subcommittee chairman Cruz and the other committee leadership members on issues that will advance the commercial aviation industry for the traveling and shipping public,” said Airlines for America SVP-global government affairs Christine Burgeson. 

As a leader on space issues in the Senate, Cruz passed legislation in December that would streamline commercial space regulations and allow for the joint use of military facilities for commercial launches. That bill failed in the House, but similar efforts could be taken up in the new Congress.

Cruz has been less active on commercial airline issues, although he did spearhead an effort in December to push the White House to crack down on Qatar Airways’ subsidization of Air Italy’s expansion into the US, a topic that is sure to receive renewed scrutiny in 2019.

It is currently unclear who will serve alongside Cruz as the subcommittee’s ranking member, as previous ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) will be serving as ranking member of the full Commerce committee.

On the House side, Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Washington), a longtime leader on aviation issues in the lower chamber, will serve as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittee on Aviation. 

Ben Goldstein, Ben.Goldstein@aviationweek.com