Buffalo, New York- June 29, 2010 – As the July 3rd deadline for the current FAA extension quickly approaches, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407′ urged House and Senate Committee leadership to come to the table to work out the key differences between the two houses’ versions of the FAA Reauthorization Bill. The group also made a fervent plea for the strongest possible safety provisions to be adopted in the final bill, zeroing in on requiring all commercial pilots to possess an Airline Transport Pilot license prior to being hired and mandating that all commercial airlines invest in critical safety management programs.
“First and foremost, we want to see this bill passed, and there are no secrets as to what issues need to be worked out for that to happen,” stated Ken Mellett of McLean, Virginia who lost his thirty-four year old son Coleman in the crash. “However, as we get down to final negotiations, we have identified two key areas that we feel will help the industry come closer to achieving ‘One Level of Safety’; first, by significantly raising the minimum qualifications for pilots hired by regional airlines, and secondly, by requiring that all regional airlines invest in best practice safety assurance programs like FOQA and LOSA that are the standard among the major carriers. We learned the hard way what happens when these tools aren’t utilized, and we must make sure that this is never allowed to happen again.”
The House’s version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 1586) includes the higher qualification standards for pilots (found in Sections 350 and 351), while the Senate’s version includes a more stringent provision requiring the safety management programs like FOQA (Flight Operational Quality Assurance) and LOSA (Line Operated Safety Audit, found in Sections 552 and 554).
“You do not have to look any further than the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ to see what a difference experience in the cockpit can make, so we believe that the ATP provision is a no-brainer in terms of providing passengers on regional airlines with a flight crew that is more comparable to that of the major airlines,” stated Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin. “Just as importantly, we never again want to see a regional airline try to come up with a lower bid at the expense of key safety programs like FOQA and LOSA. One of the NTSB’s recommendations as a result of the Flight 3407 investigation was for mandatory FOQA, and we call on Senator Rockefeller to hold the FAA’s and the airlines’ feet to the fire by ensuring that this provision is included in the final bill.”