Buffalo, New York- May 25, 2010 – As the Senate and the House continue to work towards a final FAA Reauthorization Bill, the ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ urged the general public, and specifically all elected officials and their staffers responsible for aviation issues, to tune into PBS Frontline’s ‘FLYING CHEAP’. The one-hour documentary, to be shown tonight, Tuesday, May 25th (check local listings for air time), takes an inside look at some of the less-than-desirable practices that are employed by the regional airline industry.
‘This is the cost-cutting, safety compromising side of the regional airline industry that was exposed by this crash,’ stated Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister Beverly Eckert in the crash. ‘While this doesn’t represent every single regional airline out there, the numbers do not lie – the last six fatal plane crashes in the U.S. have all been on regional airlines. There is no way one can argue that there is ‘One Level of Safety’ in existence, and we are counting on Congress to address this issue by passing the FAA Reauthorization Bill before July 3rd.’
The key measures that the group is pushing for in the final bill include increasing commercial pilot minimums to require all first officers to have an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license (included in the House’s version), and mandating that all commercial carriers utilize best practive safety management systems (included in the Senate’s version). Currently, many regional airlines fall short in these areas when compared to their major partners, leading to the concern over ‘One Level of Safety’.
‘We know that there are other issues with this bill that are of grave concern to some members of Congress,’ stated Kevin Kuwik of Columbus, Ohio, who lost his girlfriend Lorin Maurer. ‘All we ask is that they take a look at ‘Flying Cheap’, or review the Cockpit Voice Recorder transcript. Hopefully that will help bring the big picture back into focus, and remind them that we can’t afford to not get this bill done. Unfortunately our group doesn’t have millions of dollars to throw around to influence this process; instead, all we have to offer are millions of tears.’
‘Flying Cheap’ is also available for online viewing by going to Frontline’s website, which also includes additional information on the regional airlines and the Flight 3407 Families’ crusade for aviation safety.