Washington, DC—April 25, 2012--Underlining the “full commitment to the safe operation of each and every regional airline flight, every single day,” Regional Airline Association (RAA) Senior Vice President-Operations & Safety Scott Foose testified today before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This collaborative work of 60,000 regional airline employees operating 13,000 daily flights has contributed significantly to this safest period of time in commercial aviation history.”
Foose highlighted RAA members’ work on four priorities -- safety information sharing, voluntary safety programs, pilot fatigue and first officer qualifications – citing the regional industry’s leadership role. He added that RAA members have the highest levels of participation among all Part 121 carriers in each of the gold-standard, voluntary safety programs: Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA), Advanced Qualifications Program (AQP) and Safety Management Programs (SMS). In addition, RAA is entering Phase 2 of its ground-breaking fatigue study with the Washington State University’s Sleep Center to fill the gap on available science related to multi-segment operations. During his testimony, Foose also emphasized that while RAA supports nearly all of the important changes to the Pilot Certification rulemaking, he urged FAA to more closely adhere to the recommendations of Congress and to consider the valuable conclusions reached by the First Officer Qualification Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) in formulating its final rule. “If safety is the goal, then experience is part of the solution. Flight time does not equal experience.”
While regional airlines are fully complying with the new rules, the potential availability of new pilots could jeopardize scheduled service to dozens of communities. “Unless the FAA’s recognizes the value and experience the structured training programs provide, the burden will now shift to tomorrow’s pilots,” Foose added.
RAA’s full perspective and recommendations will be filed on April 30, 2012 in the form of official comments to the NPRM. Click here to read today’s statement.