Buffalo New York, October 25, 2023 – Following the confirmation of Michael G. Whitaker as the new FAA Administrator, the Families of Flight 3407 welcome his leadership at an agency that has operated without a permanent head for the past 18 months. Members of the group attended his earlier Senate confirmation hearing, and noted his statement that if confirmed, his priority will be the safety of the flying public.
“We had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Whitaker, just as we have met with every FAA Administrator since the crash in February 2009″ stated Scott Maurer of Palmetto, Florida, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin in the crash. ” At all these meetings, including this one, we have reiterated the importance of the safety measures contained in the Airline Safety Act of 2010. We appreciate that he was willing to listen to our concerns, particularly about the recent attempts in both the House and Senate versions of the FAA Reauthorization Bill to weaken the pilot qualification rule by replacing actual hours in the cockpit with classroom time or simulator time. In the interest of safety and maintaining the current stellar safety record of U.S. commercial aviation, we call on him to ensure that no actions detrimental to the current pilot qualification standard are taken.”
In the nearly fourteen years since the passage of the Airline Safety Act of 2010, the Family group has continuously worked to ensure that the provisions of this law have been implemented and maintained despite pressure from industry lobbying groups.
“We are also counting on Mr. Whitaker’s support of closing the loophole that has allowed Part 135 carriers to conduct operations essentially indistinguishable from Part 121 carriers” stated Karen Eckert, of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister and 9/11 advocate Beverly Eckert in the crash. “Allowing some Part 135 airlines, flying regularly scheduled passenger flights of 30 seats or less to conduct business using this loophole, lets them bypass the safety requirements of the 2010 Airline Safety Act by hiring pilots with significantly less experience than pilots who are hired by Part 121 carriers. We support a rule change that would close this loophole and call on Mr. Whitaker to ensure that this action moves forward.”