Buffalo, New York- September 30, 2009- The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ reiterated their strong support for the recently-introduced House provision that would require all pilots being hired to fly for commercial airlines to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license, a significant upgrade of the existing standard, and challenged the House leadership to stand up to a behind-closed-doors effort to weaken the requirement.
“It is extremely disappointing to watch Congressman Mica stand up at the press conference, wave the letters from our family group, take the credit, and then turn around and not represent the position that our group stands for,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister and 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert in the tragic crash. “After 9/11, Beverly would not take ‘no’ for an answer from the government, and we and our family group are not going to accept that either.”
“Since our accident, we have been repeatedly told by the DOT, FAA, and Congress, that the passengers and their safety is the number one concern,” added Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, another of Beverly’s sisters. “A first officer position at a regional airline should not be an entry level position, and this regulation would be a positive step towards restoring airline pilot jobs to the professional stature that they once held. We are greatly disappointed to hear that there is talk of catering to special interests and the industry, and hope that the key players in Washington will do the right thing for the memory of our loved ones.”
The license required by this proposal carries a requirement of 1,500 flight hours, with additional stipulations for cross-country flight hours, academic testing, and flight testing. Currently, first officers are only required to have a Commercial Pilot License (CPL), which can be earned after only 250 hours of flight time.