Chairmen Rockefeller and Dorgan Announce Hearings On Airline Safety

May 14, 2009

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV and Senator Byron Dorgan Chairman of the Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee, today said they will hold hearings to investigate airline safety to address recent disclosures before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) surrounding the crash of the Continental Connection Flight 3407 commuter plane near Buffalo, New York.

Working with Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, Senator Dorgan announced the first hearing on aviation safety will be held in early June.

“The disclosures about crew rest, compensation, training, and many other issues demonstrate the urgent need for Congress and the FAA to take actions to make certain the same standards exist for both commuter airlines and the major carriers,” Dorgan said. “The NTSB investigation has disclosed some very serious problems that need to be corrected immediately.”

“Safety in aviation has always been my top priority,” Rockefeller said.  “The disclosures before the NTSB are disconcerting and require the FAA and Congress’ immediate attention, oversight and action.  We must do all we can to protect American consumers and ensure safety in our skies.”

“With the tragic crash of Flight 3407 in Buffalo, we have seen how gaps in the existing airline safety system can have devastating consequences for the country’s communities and families,” Dorgan said. “The FAA has a responsibility to both impose and enforce the standards that will give the American air traveler confidence across all of our airline services.”

“The NTSB must continue its investigation into this tragedy and provide recommendations on what actions need to be taken by the government and industry to address safety challenges,” Rockefeller said.  “I believe these important hearings will move us in the right direction.”