Group is Counting on Acting Administrator to Complete Key Rulemakings on Pilot Training and Qualifications in Swift Manner

Buffalo, New York- July 31, 2012 – With the Senate’s Commerce Committee scheduled to hold an executive session on Tuesday afternoon to consider the nomination of Michael Huerta as FAA Administrator, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ called on Chairman John D. ‘Jay’ Rockefeller (D-WV), ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and their colleagues on the committee to approve the nomination of Huerta, and send his name to the entire Senate body for its approval. At the same time, the group underscored the importance of Huerta living up to his pledge to Chairman Rockefeller at his confirmation hearing to expedite a long-overdue rulemaking that would revamp airlines’ pilot training programs. And the group continues to press the FAA to withstand industry pressure and finalize a rulemaking that would significantly enhance the entry-level requirements for commercial airline first officers.


“Since Mr. Huerta took over as acting Administrator, he has made a sincere effort to get to know our group and to understand our passion for achieving a true ‘One Level of Safety’ when comparing our nation’s regional airlines with their parent carriers,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister and noted 9/11 widow and activist Beverly Eckert. “We appreciate the efforts of him and his staff to date in implementing many of the provisions contained in the law that we fought to get passed two years ago, and we would like to see him receive the opportunity to continue to advance the many initiatives that are still in progress. However, the true legacy will not lie in what is contained in the law itself, but rather in what is contained in the regulations that come forth from it. And of course, in the timeliness that it is implemented with. Despite heavy pushback from the airlines and other industry sectors, we are counting on Mr. Huerta to see these rulemakings through to completion, to not allow the industry’s lobbying machine to water them down, and to complete these actions in the quickest manner possible in the interest of safety.”

In August 2010, Congress unanimously passed, and the President signed into law, PL 111-216, ‘The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010’, the most sweeping aviation legislation passed in over fifty years. The legislation was primarily geared at addressing safety deficiencies found at some of the nation’s regional airlines, with key provisions aimed at pilot fatigue, training, minimum entry-level hiring qualifications, airline safety management programs, and the creation of a national training records database.

The Commerce Committee’s executive session to consider Huerta’s nomination will be held this afternoon, Tuesday, July 31st, at 2:30 p.m. in Room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building. It will also be available via live webcast.