WASHINGTON, DC ( release ) Representatives Kathy Hochul (NY-26), Brian Higgins (NY-27), and Tom Reed (NY-29) released the following statement upon receiving notice that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not met the November 30th extended deadline for completion of a new pilot fatigue rule:
“A transportation issue that means life or death for millions of airline passengers each and every day should be given priority treatment, yet the clear disregard for the urgency of improved pilot fatigue rules is infuriating.
“We are approaching three years since Flight 3407 met tragedy in our community on February 12, 2009 and we know, with certainty, that pilot fatigue was a contributing factor. Now, over 121 days past the original deadline and with news of another missed deadline, the public is fatigued by a snail paced rulemaking process reaching 16 months and counting.
“No more excuses, no more delays, no more precious lives at risk – our message is: Just get it done.”
The Western New York Delegation has been relentless in their fight for flight safety reforms and in October got nearly 100 members of the House of Representatives to join them in a letter pushing for the final pilot fatigue rule.
The original deadline for the pilot fatigue rule was August 1, 2011, with the deadline later extended to November 30, 2011. The Delegation has not been given an updated timetable on when the rule will finally be completed.
Flight 3407 Families Frustrated Over Administration Missing Another Deadline on New Pilot Fatigue Rule
Call Out Airline Lobbyists Who Continue to Obstruct Process
Buffalo, New York-�December 1, 2011 ��As the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration missed another deadline on issuing critical new pilot flight and duty time limits geared at addressing a decades-old problem of pilot fatigue, the 'Families of Continental Flight 3407' lashed out at the continued delay in the process.
"Some might say that we are closer to achieving this long-overdue rule than ever before,' said Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty-year old daughter Lorin in the crash of Flight 3407.��"But close isn't good enough.��Every day that goes by where passengers in this country are allowed to board regional airlines where pilots may be lucky to get five or six hours of sleep the night prior is another disaster waiting to happen.��For nearly three years now, we have heard Secretary LaHood and Administrator Babbitt say that this is the top priority.��All we can say is that our patience is wearing thin, the time for lip service is long past, and now is the time to step up to the plate and deliver."
The new fatigue guidelines were a key element of PL 111-216, 'The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010', landmark aviation safety legislation that the 'Families of Continental Flight 3407' fiercely fought for in the wake of the Flight 3407 tragedy.��The law mandated an August 1, 2011 release for the new fatigue guidelines, as well as six other rule makings aimed at addressing safety deficiencies that contributed to Flight 3407.��After missing the August 1 deadline, the Department of Transportation published a revised deadline of November 30th, allowing for the White House Office of Management and Budget to complete its review.��In the meantime, lobbyists for the various sectors of the airline industry have been furiously working to delay or halt these reforms.
'Chairman Hersman of the NTSB recently wrote an Op-Ed entitled, 'Safety Delayed is Safety Denied', and we couldn't have said it any better,' declared Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister and leading 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert.��"After nearly three years of traveling to Washington to fight for something that is common sense and clearly needed, it is frustrating to watch some of these sinister lobbying elements attempt to grind this process to a halt, pressuring OMB, introducing amendments in Congress, and making outrageous claims in the media.��My sister Beverly and everyone else lost on Flight 3407 should serve as a strong reminder that safety must be kept first and foremost as the Administration struggles to issue this final rule."�