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With Congress poised to consider FAA reauthorization, Higgins stresses importance of maintaining flight safety measures

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Wed, Jan 11th 2017 03:00 pm

Flight 3407 families reinforcing 'One Level of Safety' standard as next secretary of transportation testifies at Senate confirmation hearing

As Flight 3407 families attend Senate confirmation hearings considering the next secretary of transportation, Congressman Brian Higgins stood on the House of Representatives Floor stressing the need to maintain the flight safety improvements the families sought, achieved and Congress approved.

Higgins said, "Mr. Speaker: Nearly eight years ago, Western New Yorkers watched in horror as Continental Flight 3407 crashed, tragically ending the lives of those on board. Since then, the families of those lost have turned their grief into a relentless fight to strengthen pilot training and flight safety rules.

"Today, the families of Flight 3407 are in attendance at the Senate nomination hearing for the new secretary of transportation. Their presence is an urgent reminder of the work of Congress and the administration and the work that still remains to be done.

"In 2010, Congress passed landmark flight safety legislation, with the families of Flight 3407 leading the charge. Since then, there have been nearly eight years of no fatal commercial crashes on domestic U.S. airlines. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization is on the horizon, and we must further strengthen flight safety measures.

"It is essential that we continue to stand alongside the families of Flight 3407 and fight attempts to roll back pilot training and safety provisions. We must not forget those we lost nearly eight years ago, and do all that is possible to prevent another tragedy of this kind."

After the crash of Colgan Air (operating as Continental) Flight 3407 in Western New York on Feb. 12, 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board identified serious safety deficiencies within the regional airline industry, including exhausting schedules, inexperienced pilots and insufficient training.

Following the tragedy, Flight 3407 families and members of the Western New York Congressional delegation fought to include reforms in comprehensive aviation safety legislation approved by Congress in 2010.

Funding for the Federal Aviation Administration is set to expire on Sept. 30. In the coming months, the new secretary of transportation and Congress will be working on a FAA reauthorization package that sets policies and standards, and funds the FAA.

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