One Level of Safety Demands Same Commitment To and Investment in Safety by Regional Carriers
Buffalo, New York – January 15, 2014 – With the five year anniversary of the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 less than one monthaway, the ‘Families of ContinentalFlight 3407’ reacted to today’s five year anniversary of the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’, US Airways Flight 1549, by contrasting the two flights and the factors that contributed to their diametrically opposed outcomes.
“Five years later, it is absolutely mind-boggling to think that the best and the worst of commercial airline industry were on such stark display less than a month apart,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty year-old daughter Lorin. “Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skiles, in their heroic response to a life-threatening situation, illustrate the undeniable value of having the most experienced, well-trained pilots possible in the cockpit. More than that, they show the importance of an airline being fully invested in safety, not just in word, but by the financial commitment it makes to its pilots, their training, and the state-of-the-art safety management systems that are employed. Colgan Air on the other hand, shows the danger of a small regional carrier living right on the edge in its attempt to win code share contracts with the lowest bids and making the bare minimum investment in safety. And we would be remiss if we didn’t remind the American flying public that Continental, now United, was the major partner for Flight 3407 who essentially looked the other way when it came to Colgan’s shoestring approach to flight operations.”
The family group also used the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’anniversary to reiterate its continued quest for ‘One Level of Safety’.With the recent implementation of new federal rules for scheduling pilots designed to limit the risk of pilot fatigue, there have been renewed complaints from regional airlines and their lobbyists that they are being victimized economically by the new requirements. “The contrast of Flight 3407 and the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ emphatically drives home the point that there is no way around the fact that safety costs money,” declared Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister and 9/11 widow and activist Beverly Eckert. “As we continue to push for a TRUE ‘One Level of Safety’ between our nation’s major and regional carriers, and we point to so much progress that has been made in the past five years, we remind everyone associated with the U.S. aviation system in Washington and across the country that we are only as strong as our weakest link. We must continue to be vigilant towards those carriers who may be economically tempted to push the envelope when it comes to their bottom line at the possible expense of safety. While the passengers on the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ have so much to be thankful for on a day like today, next month will mark five years of emptiness and heartache in our lives, and we pray that no one ever forgets the dear price that has been paid by the members, lest it be painfully repeated.’