October Deadline for Training Rule, One Level of Safety for Regional Airlines Remain the Focus
Buffalo, New York- July 29, 2013 – Fresh off the recent announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration of stricter entry-level qualification requirements for first officers at the regional airline level, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ announced that they would be in Washington this Wednesday, July 31st, to sit down with new Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. In their continuing quest to achieve a true ‘One Level of Safety’ between the nation’s regional and mainline carriers, the group is aiming to highlight to the Secretary some of the remaining provisions to be implemented from the 2010 Airline Safety Act.
“As we approach the five year anniversary of the crash this February, we continue to push for full implementation of the safety law that we fought so hard for in the hope that other families will not ever know the pain that we feel,” stated Susan Bourque of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister and prominent 9/11 widow and activist Beverly Eckert. “We are appreciative of Secretary Foxx’s offer to meet with us, and look forward to discussing some of the measures that are still in progress, particularly the crewmember training rulemaking and the electronic pilot records database. FAA Administrator Huerta is on record as promising these critical new training standards by October, and we hope that Secretary Foxx will stand by that pledge as well.”
When examining implementation of the Airline Safety Act, DOT and FAA have already completed requirements for new flight and duty time limits for pilots, higher qualification and certification standards for first officers, and more explicit identification of flights operated by regional airlines by travel agents and internet ticket websites. In addition to the aforementioned training rulemaking and pilot record database initiatives, FAA rulemaking projects to enhance airlines’ safety management systems and to institute mentoring, leadership, and professional development programs at each carrier are also underway.
“Just as our crash brought aviation safety to the forefront in Ray LaHood’s early days as Transportation Secretary, the recent Asiana crash should serve as a strong reminder for Secretary Foxx as well,” stated Scott Maurer, of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin. “Human factors continue to be at the forefront of many of the most recent crashes, and the provisions remaining to be accomplished are primarily geared at our stated goal of putting the best possible pilots in the cockpit and setting them up for success. As the airlines and their lobbyists continue to oppose our efforts at every turn, often in the shadows, we are counting on Secretary Foxx to be a strong advocate of passengers and safety, and to stand up to the industry as Ray LaHood was not afraid to do.”
The training rulemaking, entitled ‘Qualification, Service, and Use of Crewmembers and Aircraft Dispatchers’, which is already well past the October 1, 2011 deadline set forth by Congress in the Airline Safety Act, now faces an October 21st deadline for final publication. FAA Administrator Huerta has pledged in writing to New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand that the FAA will meet that deadline.