Further Proof That Voluntary Compliance Doesn’t Work
Buffalo, New York – August 25th, 2015 – Responding to an audit released by the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s office detailing the progress of the Federal Aviation Administration in implementing an electronic pilot record database, mandated by the Airline Safety Act of 2010, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ had harsh words for both the FAA and commercial airlines, which were found to not be taking the appropriate interim steps to compliance.
“No matter how full of a plate FAA feels that it may have, we can never let anyone forget what happens when slippage is allowed to occur or when the ball is dropped when it comes to staying on top of every phase of the safety process” stated Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister Beverly Eckert, a prominent 9/11 widow and activist. “No one ever suggested that rule making was easy, but hopefully this IG report will create the pressure from Congress and the traveling public that FAA needs to get this project on the right track. FAA’s 2023 target date is absolutely unacceptable. Just as disappointing, however, is FAA’s failure to take the appropriate interim steps to ensure that airlines are maintaining the proper records in the meantime and requesting all available pilot records in the hiring process. We are counting on Administrator Huerta and his staff to take immediate and decisive corrective actions on this report’s recommendations.”
The group also zeroed in on findings in the report (found here) that cast doubt on whether the nation’s commercial airlines were living up to their end of the deal on the FAA’s 2009 Call to Action, the Agency’s initial response to addressing some of the gaps in regional airline safety exposed by the NTSB’s investigation into the crash of Flight 3407. At the time, airlines pledged to request a pilot’s complete record in the hiring process, as opposed to the more cursory requirements of the Pilot Records Information Act (PRIA), which led to Colgan Air hiring the captain of Flight 3407 without knowledge of all his prior training deficiencies.
“Obviously FAA needs to step up its game, but we certainly can’t let the airlines continue to hide behind the FAA as they love to do either,” stated Scott Maurer of Brandon, Florida, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin in the crash of Flight 3407 in February 2009. “Once again, we have convincing proof that voluntary compliance is nothing more than lip service; if FAA doesn’t require something by rule, then you can bet your bottom dollar that some of the bottom feeders in the airline industry will allow critical safety responsibilities to slip through the cracks. Meanwhile, these are the same airlines working behind the scenes with their lobbyists and senior safety officials on the FAA Reauthorization Bill and FAA Advisory Committees trying to get already-enacted critical safety measures watered down. This cannot be allowed to happen, and six and a half years later, we remain as committed and vigilant as ever to ensuring that the mistakes that led to the needless tragedy of Flight 3407 are never allowed to repeat themselves.”