Buffalo, New York- May 13, 2010 – Ten members representing the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ met privately with President Obama as part of his trip to Buffalo today, asking for the President’s assistance in getting the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed by Congress.
In his discussion with the family members, the President cited FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s Call to Action in the wake of last May’s NTSB Public Hearings into the crash, as the FAA sought expedient, but voluntary, reforms by the airline industry and pilot unions. While endorsing the effort, the family group expressed worries about the airlines’ long-term commitment to these initiatives.
“The President acknowledged the gap in safety between major carriers and regional carriers, and promised that the DOT and FAA are doing everything in their power to address this issue,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister Beverly Eckert. “We told him that we needed these changes locked in by legislation so that future start-up regional airlines can’t take the same shortcuts that cost us our loved ones’ lives. And I do feel like we have his support in this regard.”
“With the current FAA extension running out on July 3rd, the clock is ticking,” added John Kausner of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his daughter Ellyce. “No one disputes that the safety measures in the bill are critical to the flying public, but at the end of the day, we need to instill a sense of urgency in Congress to work through some of these other issues and get this bill passed. The President gave us his pledge to help, and hopefully that can be the nudge that gets this legislation over the hump and onto his desk for a signature.”
The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ will continue their push for the FAA Reauthorization Bill to be passed as group members journey to Washington next week for the NTSB’s three day Safety Forum on Professionalism in Aviation as well as another round of meetings with key congressional leaders.