Buffalo, New York- March 5, 2010 – As Senator Harry Reid (NV) prepares to bring the FAA Reauthorization Bill to the Senate floor during the upcoming week of March 8th, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ challenged the Senate to stand up for the flying public and move to raise the minimum hiring standards for regional airline pilots through the passage of legislation that has been proposed by Senator Chuck Schumer (NY).
“If major airlines are not going to hire pilots with only seven or eight hundred hours of experience, don’t those flying on regional airlines deserve to receive a similar minimum level of experience in the cockpit?,’ asked Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his daughter Lorin. “After all, with more take-offs and landings in a given day, and often flying in tougher weather conditions with less sophisticated technology, in many ways the regional pilot has a much more challenging job. Unlike most who are lobbying the Senate in conjunction with this bill, we have nothing to gain by its passage; we simply want to do all we can to make sure the tragedy of Continental Flight 3407 is never repeated for other families.”
The group urged the Senate to work in a bipartisan fashion for the swift passage of the overall bill, which contains many safety provisions that address the safety deficiencies in the day-to-day operations of regional airline, Colgan Air, who operated Flight 3407 as part of a code share agreement with Continental. These provisions include a comprehensive pilot training records database, mandatory safety management programs for regional airlines, and multiple measures aimed at addressing the training and fatigue issues that contributed to the accident.
“This bill represents the kind of legislation that we expect out of our government, with so many positives in terms of job creation, modernizing our air traffic control system, passenger rights, and of course, safety,” stated John Kausner of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his daughter Ellyce. “But that has not stopped the Senate from getting bogged down by petty partisan politics and failing to pass this bill for the last three years. So we fervently hope that this time things will be different, and that these senators will think about their husbands, wives, daughters, and sons being the ones on Flight 3407, and vote accordingly.”