Buffalo, New York – February 12, 2020 – Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 will mark the 11th anniversary of the tragic regional airline crash of Continental Flight 3407 operated by Colgan Air that took the lives of all on board and one man on the ground. It will also mark 11 years without any fatal crashes of U.S. commercial flights, the safest such period in our nation’s aviation history (previously, the U.S. had never gone more than thirty consecutive months without a fatal crash). This is a testament to the efforts of so many, and a powerful tribute to those who were needlessly lost. In conjunction with the anniversary, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ issue the following statement:
Another year has passed. We continue to struggle with the elusive ‘new normal’. There are old photos, boxes of newspaper clippings, old clothes, and other mementos. Memories of sights and sounds and smells that we hold near and dear to our hearts, that we fight to keep from fading away as time marches on.
In many ways, these past 12 months were more of the same. But in one significant way, they were different. Because we watched as 8 Americans died in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. We saw their families’ heart-wrenching pain. We felt their anger as it became clear that it was related to the earlier crash of Lion Air Flight 610, and that both of these crashes were eminently preventable. We cringed as dots were connected between industry resistance and FAA oversight, with hints of shortcuts being taken all in the quest for the almighty dollar. And we looked on with pride as these families stormed the halls of Congress and stood tall in congressional hearings, demanding answers, accountability, and most importantly, solutions. All in the noble quest to ensure that no other family would feel the pain of needlessly losing a loved one when profits are put before safety.
It is our fervent hope that they achieve everything that they are fighting for, and we stand by their efforts every step of the way in solidarity and support.
As our group moves forward, we will continue to honor our loved ones with our quest for a ‘TRUE’ ‘One Level of Safety’ between our nation’s mainline and regional carriers.We pray that the FAA continues to resist the pressures of the regional airlines and their lobbyists to water down the enhanced First Officer Qualification requirements. Certainly the lesson of Boeing and the 737 MAX certification should stand as a powerful warning against caving in to industry pressures when it comes to keeping safety first and foremost.
We also continue to watch for President Trump’s administration, under the stewardship of the Department of Transportation, to fully implement the Pilot Record Database. Secretary Chao gave us her word, and we will continue to hold her accountable for it. It is a critical tool to ensuring our goal of ‘Putting the Best Pilots in the Cockpit, and Setting Them Up for Success.’
These tragic and preventable crashes have robbed our world of so many beautiful people who had so much more to offer. Their memory demands that every single person with a voice in the aviation sector does everything in their power to make certain that these painful mistakes are never repeated.
But more than that, on this day, we just want to reflect on how much they meant to us, and how much we miss them.