Look Forward to Working With Trump Administration
Buffalo, New York – February 12th, 2017 – The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ issued the following statement to mark today’s 8th anniversary of the crash.
“Eight years ago today, on a cold, snowy night outside Buffalo, our loved ones were mere minutes away from arriving in Buffalo ahead of Valentine’s Day weekend. Or, in the case of Doug Wielinski, it was a quiet night at home on Long Street in the company of his wife and daughter. Moments later, Continental Express Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air, tragically and needlessly crashed into the Wielinski home. In that instant, the lives of so many of us were forever changed.
In addition to remembering and honoring those that were lost on a daily basis, we have made it our unending quest to do all that we can to ensure that the mistakes made and safety shortcomings that contributed to this preventable crash are never allowed to repeat themselves. We have repeatedly journeyed to Washington to ensure that our loved ones are never forgotten, in the midst of the constant turnover of members of Congress, their staffers, and NTSB, DOT, and FAA officials.
And so, here on the 8th anniversary, we are at another crossroads of sorts, as President Obama and his administration have given way to President Trump and his team. President Obama, Secretary Foxx, Secretary LaHood, Administrator Huerta, and Administrator Babbitt all took the time to meet with us and understand not only our cause, but also our pain, and we are deeply grateful for the steadfast support that they have shown to us over the past eight years.
With that as a backdrop, we hope to have the same relationship and cooperation with President Trump and his transportation officials. We congratulate Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on her confirmation, and look forward to sitting down with her, hopefully in the near future.
Just this past week, we saw on the news that President Trump sat down with the leadership of many of our nation’s airlines and their lobbying representatives. There is no question that the airline industry is a key cog in our nation’s economy. However, we must warn of the slippery slope of allowing economic considerations to overshadow safety initiatives, as our loved ones paid the ultimate price as the result of an era where our nation’s regional airlines were allowed to operate with a significantly lesser commitment to, and investment in, safety.
Over the past eight years, much has been accomplished in terms of bringing our nation’s regional carriers on par with their mainline partners, and the result has been the longest period in our nation’s history without a fatal crash on a domestic commercial carrier. This has been achieved through the bipartisan cooperation of Congress, the administration, and stakeholders including the airlines, pilots, and safety advocates. We call on the Trump administration to pick up the ball and continue this push, by preserving the safety measures that are already in place, and in completing the two outstanding provisions of the 2010 Airline Safety Act: the Pilot Records Database and the rulemaking on Pilot Professional Development.
Once again, we cherish the memories of our loved ones on this sad anniversary, and we recommit ourselves in their honor to fighting for a true ‘One Level of Safety’ for every passenger boarding a regional airliner.”