Buffalo, New York – April 21st, 2016 – The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ hailed the Senate for approving its version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill on Tuesday and not including a controversial amendment from Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota that sought to provide a shortcut around the higher entry-level pilot qualification standards enacted by the FAA back in 2013. Continuing its quest to achieve a true ‘One Level of Safety’ between the nation’s regional and mainline carriers, the group called on the House of Representatives to hold the line and resist any pressure from the Regional Airline Association as the bill moves across Capitol Hill.
“It is a relief to see that the Rounds amendment had no legs, but once again a stark reminder to us that we cannot afford to relax with all these lobbyists running around Washington in the shadows constantly trying to water this thing down,” stated John Kauser of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his twenty four year old daughter Ellyce. “Kudos as always to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for being powerful advocates on our behalf, but just as importantly, we deeply appreciate the support and encouragement that we received on both sides of the aisle as we reached out to make everyone aware of our opposition to this amendment. We have met with members and staffers representing all 50 states over the past seven years as we continue to fight to ensure that the mistakes that led to the tragedy of Flight 3407 are not repeated, but unfortunately as time passes, some of these members forget the stark revelations of the NTSB investigation and hearing back in 2009; even the very members who were on the committee and sat in on its hearings. Hopefully at some point all of this energy that the other side is putting into resisting these higher safety standards will instead be channeled into positive efforts to advance the industry, its business model, and commitment to safety.”
The group now turns its attention to the House side, where the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure had previously passed its FAA Reauthorization Bill with no reference to weakening the stronger pilot qualification requirements.
“We will continue to work with the staffs of Congressmen Shuster and LoBiondo on the Republican side, Congressmen DeFazio and Larsen on the Democratic side, and of course our bipartisan Western New York delegation to ensure that the House continues to stand firmly on the side of safety,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York who lost her sister and noted 9/11 widow Beverly Eckert. “We have quite a bit of outreach to do in the meantime, making sure that everyone over there is aware of this amendment and implications. But we know we have great support in the House as well, and we look forward to honoring the memories of our loved ones by fighting to preserve these higher safety standards that were passed unanimously by Congress back in 2010 in the interest of achieving ‘One Level of Safety’.”