Buffalo, New York- June 18, 2010 – At Wednesday’s House Aviation hearing that examined the proposed merger between United and Continental, members of the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ were sad witnesses to Continental Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smisek’s attempt to avoid responsibility for the training deficiencies that led to the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 operated by Colgan Air in February 2009.
At one point in the hearing, Smisek stated, “We were not aware of that training deficiency. That is the responsibility of the FAA. We did not train those pilots… We expect them to be safe. We expect the FAA to do its job.”
“When you think about all the suffering this avoidable tragedy has caused, it is truly disappointing to hear Mr. Smisek hide behind a code share agreement,” stated Ken Mellett of McLean, Virginia, who lost his thirty-four year old son Coleman in the crash. “Kudos to Congressmen Boccieri and Garamendi for calling him out on this. Once again you have a parent carrier outsourcing to a regional airline, turning a blind eye while they hire low-experience pilots for next to nothing and train them on the cheap, and then they turn around and shift the blame to the FAA when something goes wrong.”
“The majors can talk about sharing best practices with their regional partners all that they want, but how about actually requiring those partners to implement those best practices? Coley and everyone else who lost their life deserved so much better. If the majors don’t start paying closer attention to their regionals, then maybe shared financial liability for a tragedy like this would finally get their attention.”
On a positive note, the group was optimistic on the latest developments in getting the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed before the July 3rd deadline when the current extension expires.
“It looks like there might be some light at the end of the tunnel for this bill when the Senate finishes its consideration of the tax extenders bill,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, the father of thirty year old Lorin Maurer. “The safety provisions and implementation of NextGen would leave a lasting legacy of safer skies. However, all it takes is one senator or congressman to bring this progress to a halt, and I am here to say that if someone jams this bill up because of issues like landing slots at Reagan National or airport fire stations, we are throwing you under the bus.'””