As Congress Debates Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization, Higgins Cites Importance of Maintaining Pilot Training Standards
As the House of Representatives debates amendments to a bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) pointed to the most recent Southwest Airlines emergency as an urgent reminder that the country cannot turn back on progress made by Congress to create one level of safety for America’s flying public.
In remarks on the House Floor Congressman Higgins noted when in-air emergencies occur, there is no substitute for a qualified pilot with extensive in-flight experience:
“Mr. Speaker: The House will vote tomorrow to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.
“In 2010, Congress approved landmark flight safety legislation after the flight of 3407 crashed outside of Buffalo, New York in 2009. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that pilot error was the cause of that tragedy.
“The bill the House will vote on tomorrow must uphold and reaffirm our commitment to those safety standards.
“The Southwest Airlines emergency landing two weeks ago is an urgent and inspiring reminder of the importance of pilot training to keep the flying public safe. The Southwest pilot Tammie Joe Shults piloted that plane to a safe landing in a calm, controlled and confident manner borne out of one thing – excellent pilot training.”
Thanks to the persistence of the families of Flight 3407, in 2010 Congress approved the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act, which included greater transparency for travelers and additional rest time and training requirements for pilots.
The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R.4), scheduled for a final vote in the House of Representatives on Friday, April 27, 2018, reauthorizes the FAA at $104.17 billion per year for five years – through 2023.