Legislators Demand Answers from Airlines Following Flight Safety Failures

September 15, 2011 Updated Sep 15, 2011 at 4:58 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Legislators Demand Answers from Airlines Following Flight Safety Failures

September 15, 2011 Updated Sep 15, 2011 at 4:58 PM EDT

Washington D.C. (WKBW release) -- After recent news citing a Colgan Air/Pinnacle Airlines/Continental Airlines flight landed at the wrong airport, Western New York Representatives Kathy Hochul, Brian Higgins, Louise Slaughter and Tom Reed on Thursday sent letters to the Presidents of Colgan Air, Pinnacle Airlines and Continental Airlines demanding to know how their airlines have improved safety standards since the crash of Continental Flight 3407 in February 2009.

“These mistakes are unacceptable and the airline industry must be held accountable for making safety improvements,” said Hochul. “While the FAA and the Office of Management and Budget have been slow to act in implementing the safety regulations recommended after the crash of Continental Flight 3407, there is no reason these airlines cannot take proactive steps towards ensuring the safety of our passengers. As the Representative of the community who experienced this tragedy firsthand, and as a mother of a family that frequently travels by air, I want to know, what have these airlines done to ensure such an unspeakable tragedy never occurs again?”

“The airlines should be a partner in promoting flight safety,” said Higgins. “When it comes to air travel, there are no second chances and no room for mistakes. The companies should take it upon themselves to be accountable to their customers and aggressively pursue measures to protect those they serve. If they don’t, the federal government has no choice but to take additional action to make sure that happens.”

“I’ve said it before -- we’ve all said it before -- these delays are unacceptable, unconscionably so,” said Slaughter. “Reducing pilot fatigue is a priority for the flying public and needs to be a priority for the federal government. We can’t have more errors, we can’t have more delays and we can’t have any more tragedies.”

“The families of the victims of Flight 3407 suffered an irreplaceable loss of loved ones,” said Reed. “The FAA and the airlines both have an obligation to make every effort that pilot fatigue never causes another tragedy like this to occur. There cannot be any further delay.”

Hochul, Higgins, Slaughter, and Reed have all been strong advocates for the immediate implementation of legislation that would improve airline safety regulation and pilot training, and have now asked for what the two airlines have done to approve safety since the Flight 3407 crash, as well as a detailed explanation of how the most recent Louisiana mistake occurred.

The letter is ever more timely after the Federal Aviation Administration today announced that it is proposing a nearly $1.9 million fine towards Colgan Airlines for allegedly allowing flight attendants to work on 172 revenue passenger flights when they were not properly trained to use the planes’ cabin fire extinguisher system.

In the past, all four Representatives have sent letters to President Obama, the Office of Management and Budget, the FAA, and other stakeholders about the need to implement this legislation expeditiously.