Buffalo, New York- February 10, 2011 – Just two days prior to the two year anniversary of the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407, the “Families of Continental Flight 3407′ lashed out at an amendment put forth by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), which they say would severely undermine their push for new flight and duty time regulations. These revised regulations, which have been at the top of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Most Wanted List for over twenty years, have been a top priority for the group ever since the NTSB’s investigation focused on the impact of pilot fatigue on the crash.
“We’ve been round and round with the major airlines and the ATA for all these months, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that a few other special interest industry groups would try to rear their ugly heads and throw a monkey wrench in our efforts,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thrity year old daughter Lorin on Flight 3407. “That being said, as we struggle to deal with the two year anniversary of our devastating losses, to say that this is demoralizing is an understatement. This is exactly how previous FAA attempts to revise these archaic rules went down the drain, with whatever special interest groups who weren’t getting their way throwing their money around until they could find a strong enough ally in Congress or at the FAA to muck up the process. And meanwhile we continue to have overscheduled regional airline pilots flying our loved ones around the country when they often shouldn’t be.”
The amendment proposed by Inhofe would seek to exempt both cargo carriers and non-scheduled carriers from the FAA’s recently-proposed new flight and duty time regulations. In the wake of the Flight 3407 tragedy, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt made a new fatigue rule his top priority, and the agency is in the process of issuing a final rule, expected by fall of this year.
“We don’t want to hear from these carriers about pain,” added John Kausner of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his twenty four year old daughter Elly. “They can come to our candlelight vigil on Saturday night at 10:17 pm if they want to know pain. If there was an easy, pain-free solution to this issue, the new regulations would have been issued long ago – everyone is goingto have to make sacrifices here. All we know is that this amendment, if passed, would be the ultimate slippery slope and set off a feeding frenzy in Washington as every special interest lobby set out to line some pockets and get their own modifications to the rule. And the end result would once again be no rule. We’re all for promoting economic growth, but in this case, safety must resoundingly be put first and foremost. Elly isn’t here today because of our past laissez-faire approach of letting the industry’s bottom line come before safety. Enough is enough.”
The family group cited the inclusion of a fatigue risk management plan option in the FAA’s new proposal as a satisfactory means for these carriers to seek modification to the scheduling guidelines based on the unique features of their operations.