Group Pledges to Make Sure Public Never Forgets Responsible Parties
Buffalo, New York- February 10, 2012 – Just two days prior to the third anniversary of the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air, the “Families of Continental Flight 3407” denounced various industry members associated with the crash for changing their names in the aftermath, ostensibly to disassociate themselves from the negative publicity associated with this very avoidable disater. Already, the operator, Colgan Air, the parent carrier, Continental Airlines, the joint regional airline/flight school responsible for training the captain, Gulstream, and even the industry’s lobbying arm, the Air Transport Association, have attempted to re-brand themselves.
“We saw it many years ago with ValuJet, and here we go again,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty-year-old daughter Lorin. “Colgan, Continental, and Gulfstream all take a hefty dose of criticism, rightfully so I might add, for their contributions to this needless tragedy, and rather than have that affect their marketing efforts, they wheel out the paint cans and try to hide behind a new name. They can try all they want, but it’s still the same leadership and the same shortcut-taking philosophy to make a few bucks that created the conditions that allowed Flight 3407 to happen. Obviously they are hoping the uproar they created will die down with time, but in the memory of Lorin and all the other victims, we are going to make sure that people never forget who Pinnacle, United, and Silver Airlines used to be.”
The group is referencing recent moves announced in the industry, as Pinnacle Air, the parent carrier of Colgan, bought Mesaba, and Continental merged with United. Not surprisingly, Pinnacle announced plans to phase out the Colgan name and go with Mesaba, and Continental, despite over seventy-five years of tradition, agreed to go with the United name after the merger. The regional airline Gulfstream Airlines, attempting to distance itself from its corporate brother Gulfstream Academy, which has come under heavy fire for its approach to pilot training, recently announced the change to Silver Airlines. Finally, the Air Transport Association, the powerful lobbying arm for the industry’s biggest carriers, has attempted to re-package itself as Airlines for America (A4A).
“When you really examine this closely, the Flight 3407 disaster has its roots in the major airlines’ strategic decision to outsource over 50 percent of their routes to these regional airlines who could operate these flights on the cheap when it comes to pilot compensation, training, and investment in best practice safety programs,” stated John Kausner of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his twenty-four-year-old daughter Elly in the crash less than one mile from their family home. “Obviously the major airlines are quick to hide behind their iron-clad code share agreements and put this all on their regional partners and the FAA, but make no mistake about it, their fingerprints are all over my daughter’s casket. And when it comes to doing the industry’s dirty work in Washington, there has not been a better lead blocker over the past few decades than the ATA. Airlines for America may have a kinder, gentler ring to it, but we are not going to let the public be fooled – this is still the epitome of high-powered corporate lobbying that has certainly had its way with our goverment and the FAA from time to time.”