Buffalo, New York- September 10, 2010 – With the Department of Aviation and Federal Aviation Administration finally releasing the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on new pilot flight and duty time regulations, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ offered the following statement:
“The issue of pilot fatigue has been at the top of the National Transportation Safety Board’s ‘Most Wanted’ List for over twenty years. Secretary LaHood and Administrator Babbitt have made these new flight and duty time regulations their top priority from Day One, and we applaud them for today’s release of the proposed rule. This is a critical issue for making our skies safer, and the American traveling public deserves new guidelines in this area. Although the process to this point has not moved as quickly as we would have liked, we implore the Administration to see this all the way through to a timely completion, with the interest of public safety remaining the top priority at every turn.
We will continue to trumpet the importance of all stakeholders being proactive in addressing the issue of commuting. In our hearts, the tragedy of Flight 3407 would have been avoided if stronger measures were in place to mitigate the risks of commuting. We will continue to press the FAA and Congress to aggressively focus on this potentially problematic situation.
In terms of the guidelines themselves, we look forward to reviewing the proposal very closely in the upcoming days. We do know that we are very concerned with the potential for airlines to overwork their pilots, particularly at the regional level, with numerous short flights over the course of a sixteen hour duty day, often followed by only an eight hour rest window, and will be examining these aspects of the guidelines with great interest.
Lastly, as this process moves into the comment period, we have a message for all stakeholders involved. First and foremost, in regards to a achieving a final rule, the status quo is not an option. The traveling public deserves better than it has received over the past twenty years in terms of the existing guidelines. And most importantly, let our loved ones and the needless tragedy of Flight 3407 serve as a reminder of the importance of not compromising safety. As each parameter of these new guidelines is considered, as each final decision is made, please let safety be deciding factor.
We look forward to next Thursday’s House Aviation Subcommittee hearing on this new rule, and to working with the DOT and FAA as the process moves forward.”