Article Reiterates Regional Airlines’ “Race to the Bottom”, Need for Safety Rules to Be Finalized
Buffalo, New York- June 3, 2013 – The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ reacted strongly to a Sunday article in the Buffalo News (http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130601/CITYANDREGION/130609870/1010&template=printart) where Dan Morgan, former Vice President of Safety and Regulatory Compliance for Colgan Air, acknowledged that a senior FAA official shared “very serious concerns about the safety culture at Colgan Air”, in a meeting with company officials just six months prior to the fatal crash of Flight 3407. Family members also took offense with the revelation that Colgan was able to avoid FAA disciplinary action through the implementation of a safety Powerpoint presentation for its employees.
“It is sickening to hear once again, this time from an insider, the depths that the FAA allowed regional airlines to descend to,” declared John Kausner of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his twenty-four year-old daughter Elly in the crash. “Obviously the convenient thing to do for Colgan and Pinnacle to do was to pin this on the pilot and first officer, but this account provides further evidence of an across-the-board, minor league operation at this airline, which resulted in numerous safety shortcuts and ultimately, the needless loss of so many lives. Whether it be maintenance deficiencies, inexperienced pilots, or even the idea that a Colgan Vice President had to use a credit card to refuel a plane because the company hadn’t been paying its bills, this article dramatically highlights that our loved ones boarded a plane operated by an airline that was a disaster-waiting-to-happen. And shame on the FAA, Continental, United, and everyone else who looked the other way and allowed this tragedy to occur.”
The family group used this article to call attention to two well-publicized rulemakings that have been stalled between FAA, DOT, and the White House Office of Management and Budget, which would significantly raise the safety bar for the nation’s regional airlines. FAA Administator Michael Huerta has pledged to have both rulemakings completed by their August and October deadlines.
“As we have throughout this whole process, we are going to continue to try and find a way to look forward and not back, as difficult as that continues to be,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister and prominent 9/11 widow and activist Beverly Eckert. “With the impending rulemakings on pilot qualifications and crewmember training, FAA and DOT have an opportunity to significantly close the gap between regional airlines like Colgan and Pinnacle, and their mainline partners. This article should be another reminder for those working on these rulemakings, as well as everyone in the industry, of what can happen when economic concerns are allowed to trump safety. We again call on Administrator Huerta to deliver on his promises.”