Call on Nominee to support current Part 121 Safety Provisions

Buffalo, New York – October 4, 2023 – As the Senate gears up for the confirmation hearing of Michael G. Whitaker as FAA Administrator, The Families of Flight 3407 have announced their intent to be present, continuing their advocacy for airline safety.

“We hope to hear a commitment to ‘One Level of Safety’ from Mr. Whitaker, along with his support for the current provisions of the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010” stated Scott Maurer of Palmetto Florida, who lost his 30-year-old daughter Lorin in the crash of Flight 3407.  “Every time a new FAA Reauthorization bill is proposed, there are attempts on the part of lobbyists to weaken the pilot qualification requirements, in spite of the fact that there has not been one, single fatal commercial airline crash in US since the law was enacted.  We need to know that Mr. Whitaker does not support the efforts of these lobbyists and will commit to maintaining the existing provisions that have proven to work so well.”

Citing the proliferation of near misses, which prompted the FAA to hold a Safety Summit in March of this year, the Family group further emphasized the importance of the experience and skill of the pilot.

“It may be time to consider strengthening pilot qualifications” stated John Kausner of Clarence Center, NY, who lost his 24-year-old daughter Ellyce in the crash.     “Our airports handle a high volume of traffic.   Aircraft are more and more sophisticated.  With all these near misses, it’s just a matter of time before one of them has a tragic end.    Kudos to Senator Tammy Duckworth for proposing the ‘Experienced Pilots Save Lives Act ‘that outlines steps to improve the quality of the flight hours currently required-further enhancing the airmanship skills of a pilot.     As the frequency of these near misses rises, the training, skill and experience of the pilot makes all the difference between a close call and a fatal accident.” 

The Family group is also concerned with what has been referred to as the Part 135 Loophole, which was the basis for some airlines to conduct passenger operations as a commuter airline.

“Allowing airlines to conduct business under this loophole lets them bypass the safety requirements of the 2010 Aviation Safety Act and hire pilots with significantly fewer qualifications” stated Karen Eckert of Williamsville, NY, who lost her sister Beverly Eckert in the crash.    “It also allows passengers to board flights without the oversight and security inspections done by the TSA.  Fortunately, the FAA has taken action to consider a rule change that would close this loophole, and we need to hear from Mr. Whitaker that he supports this.”

The Senate confirmation hearing will be held on Wednesday, October 4th, at 10:00 AM in room 253 of the Russell Senate office building.