Read the RAA Opposing View- Opposing view: Code-sharing benefits fliers
Opposing view: Code-sharing benefits fliers; Regional and major airlines share one ‘very high’ level of safety
By Roger Cohen 17 December 2009 USA Today
Since the dawn of commercial aviation, airlines have continually learned from every experience to improve safety and service. One beneficial development has been code-share partnerships between mainline and regional airlines. These partnerships — built on mutual trust and a shared commitment to serve the flying public — connect 650 American communities to virtually every corner of the world.
As complex as travel may seem today, it was far more inefficient previously. Code-sharing between regional and major carriers now provides a seamless travel experience for 160 million U.S. travelers. Passengers have to purchase only one ticket, have to check in bags on only one airline and have to clear security only once. Before code-sharing, passengers needed to buy tickets on separate airlines, often needed to claim and recheck bags, and might have needed to clear security in multiple terminals.
As code-share arrangements developed, so too did the one level of safety that has governed the commercial airline industry for more than a dozen years. Scheduled airlines, labor unions and regulators recognized the importance of one very high level of safety, which was implemented by Congress and is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Safety has always been our highest priority, with most regional airlines going beyond the safety minimums required by the FAA. For example, two of the FAA's "gold standard" safety programs will soon cover 98% of passengers flying on RAA airlines.
Since the tragic Flight 3407 accident, we have sharpened our safety focus, launching RAA's Strategic Safety Initiative. It includes a call for more thorough pilot training records, scrutiny of findings by the National Transportation Safety Board, and a first-ever study of pilot fatigue in short-segment flying. Working with Washington State University's Sleep and Performance Research Center, this research will help build best practices so that all airlines can identify, manage and, most important, prevent fatigue.
Here's the bottom line: Scheduled flights are split 50/50 between mainline and regional airlines, but it is one industry with a joint responsibility for reliable service — and a shared and singular commitment to safety.
Roger Cohen is president of the Regional Airline Association (RAA).