NBAA Salutes American Icon Norman Mineta

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-783-9360,

Washington, DC, May 4, 2022 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today paid tribute to former United States congressman, military veteran, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, aviation champion and American legend Norman Y. Mineta, who passed away yesterday at age 90.

“Norm Mineta’s life story is one of values, accomplishment and dignity,” Bolen said. “He was an extraordinary public servant, and an even better human being. America is indebted to him for his lifetime of service.”

The son of Japanese immigrants, Mineta became the first Asian-American to hold a cabinet-level position when he was appointed secretary of commerce by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The following year, Mineta was named transportation secretary by President George W. Bush, becoming the only Democratic cabinet official in that administration.

During the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mineta took the unprecedented step of grounding all aircraft over the United States, ordering pilots to immediately land at the nearest suitable airport to prevent the possibility of further attacks.

In the months following 9/11, Mineta steadfastly forbade the use of racial profiling by airline security. His position was based on his life’s experience: During World War II, at the age of 10, he proudly wore his Boy Scout uniform as his family was placed in a Japanese internment camp. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Mineta was a tireless advocate for general aviation: While serving as chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he took on the powerful trial lawyers’ lobby and approved the General Aviation Revitalization Act, a bipartisan bill widely credited with protecting aircraft manufacturers from needless lawsuits and creating thousands of jobs.

When NBAA held its Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference in San Jose, Mineta made it a point to include the event on his calendar.

Mineta launched his political career in 1967 with his appointment to fill a vacant San Jose, CA, city council seat. He subsequently won election to that seat in 1969, and two years later was elected as the first Japanese-American mayor of a major U.S. city.

In 1975, Mineta was elected to serve California’s 13th district in Congress, and he represented the emerging Silicon Valley region for 20 years before resigning his seat in 1995 to move to the private sector as an executive with Lockheed Martin.

In November 2001, San Jose officials lauded Mineta by renaming the city’s commercial airport as the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

Mineta resigned as transportation secretary in July 2006, and to this day he remains the longest-tenured official to hold that position. President Bush later awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his service. Mineta is prominently featured in Tom Brokaw’s famous book, The Greatest Generation.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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