Rockefeller Statement on Northwest Airline Pilots Incident

October 28, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement today on Northwest Airlines (NWA) Flight 188, which overflew its destination airport, Minneapolis/St. Paul International by approximately 150 miles on October 22, 2009.  The flight was out of contact with air traffic control (ATC) for 78 minutes.
“The recent news that Northwest Airline pilots overflew their destination airport raises serious safety concerns,” said Chairman Rockefeller.  “The FAA has made an emergency revocation of the airman certificates of the pilots in charge of the flight.  I think this action is certainly prudent given the circumstances, which the FAA has characterized as careless and reckless.  Air carrier safety has been my top priority over the past decade when I served as the lead Democrat on the Aviation Subcommittee and continues to be a key focus of my agenda as the Chairman of the Commerce Committee.  The FAA and the NTSB’s ongoing investigations are both reviewing the specifics of this case.  I will continue to monitor the situation very closely and take necessary action to ensure the safety of passengers and our overall aviation system.”