Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the panel will help DOT officials stay focused on the issues that led the department to adopt a "Passengers Bill of Rights" for airline customers.
“We are committed to protecting and strengthening the rights of consumers when they fly,” LaHood said in a statement. “The members of this committee will help us build on the administration’s already strong record of protecting air travelers.”
DOT said the establishment of the consumer protection committee was included in the Federal Aviation Administration funding that was passed by lawmakers earlier this year.
The CTA said the appointment of its director to the panel was "the first time a consumer advocate has been named to such a high-level position at the Transportation Department."
“I am honored to serve on this committee,” Leocha said in a statement. “With the close cooperation of consumer groups representing both leisure travelers and business travelers, a stronger and more unified voice will now be heard from airline passengers.”
DOT said the consumer protection panel's meetings will be open to the public.