MILWAUKEE, WI (WKBW/RELEASE) -- National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman today told the leaders of the nation's regional airlines to find new methods to solve old problems.
Speaking before the Regional Airline Association national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hersman congratulated the regional airlines for eclipsing the mainline carriers by operating over half of scheduled airline departures in the nation.
Hersman noted that, while regional airlines are becoming an increasingly important segment of the nation's airline industry, they also have come under increasing scrutiny. Although the rate of fatal accidents involving Part 121 carriers (encompassing virtually all scheduled airlines) today is half what it was just ten years ago, some recent high-profile accidents like the 2006 Lexington wrong runway
takeoff crash and the 2009 crash on approach to the Buffalo airport have raised questions about minimum standards, professionalism, pilot training and qualifications.
Beyond the overarching tragedy of the lives lost in those two crashes, Hersman noted that the entire industry rises or falls on its safety record. "This fact could not have been clearer after the [Buffalo] crash, when all regional airlines suffered in the court of public opinion."
Read the entire text of Chairman Hersman's speech here.