Buffalo, New York- May 7 2023 – Reacting to an application by SkyWest Charter LLC to conduct passenger operations as a commuter carrier, the Flight 3407 Family Group has written a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg requesting that he deny this application.
Citing the stellar commercial airline safety record since passage of the Airline Safety Act of 2010 which raised the minimum first officer qualifications and resulted in zero fatal commercial crashes since implementation, the family group stated strong opposition to any attempt to work around the existing law which has been so effective at saving lives. The SkyWest Charter LLC application would permit the airline to offer scheduled charter flights to certain smaller communities while using first officer pilots with substantially lower qualifications than those currently required by the major and regional carriers under the regulations set forth in the 2010 Safety Act.
“Every passenger has a right to expect the Department of Transportation and the FAA to ensure that they are protected by the same level of safety when they board a scheduled commercial flight regardless of where they live” stated Karen Eckert of Williamsville New York who lost her sister Beverly Eckert, a prominent 9/11 widow and activist. “We know the consequences of a lower level of safety. We lost our loved ones – children, parents, spouses, siblings and others – because of the gap between the level of safety offered by the major carriers and the regional airlines in 2009. It is unbelievable that anyone would consider creating this scenario again. We hope that Secretary Buttigieg will keep what is working in place and deny this and any other attempt to bypass the minimum qualification standards.”