Chairman Rockefeller Urges for Stronger Safety Standards in FAA Reauthorization

Keeps Legislation on Track Toward Senate Passage

March 11, 2010

JDR Head ShotWASHINGTON, D.C.— WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, delivered remarks on the floor of the Senate pushing for aviation safety to remain a key priority as we consider the FAA Transportation Modernization and Safety Act. 

This legislation, cosponsored by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND), and Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), was brought to the floor of the Senate yesterday to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Key safety provisions of the bill:

  • Takes steps to ensure “one level of safety” exists in commercial aircraft operations by mandating that all carriers adopt Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAP), Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) and Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) programs. Other mandates include: requiring air carriers to examine a pilot’s entire flight history when considering hiring an individual; annual reporting on the implementation of NTSB recommendations, and; the revaluation of flight crew training, testing and certification requirements.
  • Requires the FAA develop a plan to provide runway incursion information to pilots in the cockpit, and initiate improved processes for tracking and investigating operational errors.
  • Improves safety for air emergency medical service operations by mandating the FAA standardize dispatch procedures, and requiring the use of, (a) terrain awareness and warning systems, (b) and flight data and cockpit voice recorders on board such aircraft.
  • Addresses inconsistent application of Airworthiness Directives (ADs) by: improving voluntary disclosure reporting processes to ensure adequate actions are taken in response to reports; limiting the ability of FAA inspectors to work for air carriers for which they had oversight; and conducting independent reviews of safety issues identified by employees.
  • Requires enhanced safety oversight of foreign repair stations. FAA must conduct a minimum of two inspections annually, with exceptions for certain nations that have comprehensive bilateral aviation safety maintenance agreements in the United States. It also requires alcohol and drug testing at any foreign facilities that perform maintenance on U.S. commercial aircraft.