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Higgins applauds FAA action rejecting Republic Airways' appeal to 'sidestep' pilot training rules


Tue, Sep 20th 2022 07:55 pm

Says regional carrier was seeking an exemption to 1,500-hour rule implemented along with other safety measures following crash of Flight 3407

Congressman Brian Higgins applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) denial of a request by Republic Airways for an exemption of the 1,500-hour training requirement for pilots. In the FAA’s decision, it found “that a grant of exemption would not be in the public interest or provide an equivalent level of safety.”

Higgins released the following statement in response: “The work of the Flight 3407 families to protect the flying public stands preserved under the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision. Regardless of how Republic Airways tried to spin it, this was a blatant attack on pilot training requirements put in place based on the painful lessons learned following the February 2009 tragedy. The FAA’s denial is a victory for flight safety. This isn’t the first attempt to roll back enacted aviation safety standards and it surely won’t be the last. We will remain on vigilant watch of any effort to water down the protections, implemented by Congress and championed by the Flight 3407 families, which have resulted in safer skies for everyone.”

Higgins’ team said, “At the urging of the Flight 3407 families, in 2010 Congress approved the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act, which included greater transparency for travelers and additional rest time and training requirements for pilots. Prior to the Flight 3407 tragedy, pilots with as few as 250 hours of flight time were being qualified to fly commercial airliners. The comprehensive legislation requires pilots and first officers to hold an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, typically attained through 1,500 hours of flight time training, commonly known at the 1,500-hour rule.

“In April, Republic Airways submitted a petition for an exemption from the rule. Congressman Higgins spoke out in opposition to the attempt in remarks on the House floor in May and led a letter sent to the FAA administrator in June, urging the FAA to reject Republic Airway’s request.”

The letter said in part: “Their request would allow pilots attending their flight school to graduate with only 750 hours of training, half of what is typically required. The request for an exemption would effectively roll back hard fought aviation safety reforms implemented after the deadly crash of Flight 3407 in Western New York. This and any other request to scale back flight safety measures should be soundly rejected to ensure that the safety of the flying public is not compromised.”

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