Klobuchar Pushes for Safer Regional AirlinesWashington, D.C. – To increase the safety of flying on regional airlines, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today pushed for stronger oversight of regional airlines operating in the United States and called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to update its safety regulations.
Washington, D.C. – To increase the safety of flying on regional airlines, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today pushed for stronger oversight of regional airlines operating in the United States and called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to update its safety regulations. Citing recent safety incidents of regional airlines, like the crash of a Colgan airline flight in Buffalo, New York, Klobuchar questioned aviation experts, including the FAA Administrator, about the need for changes to the FAA’s safety regulations during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing exploring the FAA’s role in the oversight of commercial airlines.
“Many Minnesotans rely on regional jets to connect them to each other and to the world,” said Klobuchar. “And these passengers should be as safe on a regional carrier going from Minneapolis to Bemidji or to Duluth as they would be on a Boeing 767 flying from Los Angeles to New York.”
At the hearing, a number of safety issues were raised, including poor FAA oversight, pilot fatigue, inadequate pilot training, low pilot compensation and non-essential talk between pilots during takeoffs and landings. Klobuchar said that the FAA needs to enforce safety regulations to ensure compliance of both regional airlines and the major carriers. The hearing examined federal regulations governing aviation safety, the FAA’s role in the oversight and enforcement of safety standards, and specific safety issues that may have been factors in the Colgan Air Flight (#3407) accident in Buffalo, NY.
Klobuchar also called on the Senate to pass legislation, The Aviation Inspection Safety Act, which she authored with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to toughen airline safety rules and bring an end to the cozy relationship that has developed between airlines and the FAA.
Last year, FAA inspectors disclosed that Southwest Airlines had continued flying airplanes even though critical safety checks involving cracks in aircraft fuselages had not been performed on approximately 50 jets. That same year, American Airlines cancelled nearly 2,000 flights in order to catch up on inspections of aircraft wiring – inspections that should have been performed previously under its agreement with the FAA.