NY lawmakers mark Colgan crash anniversary; call for airline safety improvements

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"In the years since this tragic plane crash, we have made great strides in reforming airline safety, thanks in large part to the efforts of the victims’ families,” Higgins said. “The best way to truly honor their hard work and the memory of their loved ones is to push forward on the implementation of these final rules and make sure that we are doing all we can to ensure that a tragedy like this never occurs again.”

“On this fourth anniversary of the crash of Flight 3407, our commitment to airline and pilot safety remains ever-strong,” Reed added. “I join my Western New York colleagues to continue the fight on behalf of those who lost their lives in the crash of Flight 3407, and I commend the families and loved ones of the victims for keeping aviation safety in the forefront. With full implementation, these reforms will be a proactive step toward preventing future tragedies.”

A recent report Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Inspector General criticized the pace of the FAA's implementation of an airline safety bill that was passed in the wake of the Colgan Air accident.

Among the changes that were called for in the legislation is increasing the amount of experience that is required for pilots to be hired and creating a database of pilots' background information that could be referenced by employers who have been stifled by opposition from the airline industry.

The DOT IG blamed opposition from the airline industry for the delays.

"To effectively implement these initiatives in a timely manner, (the) FAA must balance industry concerns with a sustained commitment to oversight," the report said, according to the Associated Press.

The upstate New York lawmakers showed little patience for opposition to the safety rules on the Colgan Air anniversary Tuesday.

“This was a tragedy that truly shocked us all in Western New York, and when we saw that it could have been prevented with more training and better regulations, we got to work,” Slaughter said in a statement. “There have been some improvements in airline safety since the crash, but until we implement these final rules and stop the sequester from drastically cutting the FAA, we still have lots of work to do to protect the lives of future airline passengers and honor the victims of this tragedy.”

Collins added that “[T]he flying public deserves what the victims of Flight 3407 did not get that fateful night – well qualified and trained pilots.

 “There is no excuse for the FAA to continue to drag its feet in the implementation of the new safety regulations championed by Flight 3407 families and passed by Congress," Collins said. "On this fourth anniversary, we remember all those who died that night and extend our gratitude to their families for fighting so hard to make sure their loved ones did not die in vain.”