Report: FAA slow to implement new airline-safety regulations

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is struggling to implement safety rules enacted by Congress in 2010 after a deadly airplane crash, according to a report.

The Associated Press is reporting that a review by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Inspector General of the FAA’s implementation of the airline safety bill passed after the crash of a Continental Connection flight in February 2009 found many of the provisions of the law still unfinalized.

The plane, which was operated by Colgan Airlines for Continental, crashed as it approached the airport in Buffalo, N.Y. in February 2009. Fifty people were killed in the accident.

The DOT inspector general’s report said proposed changes such as 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 have been stifled by opposition from the airline industry.

"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 AP.

The families of victims of the Colgan Airlines crash have formed an organization to lobby for changes to the aviation industry, including more stringent scheduling rules to reduce pilot fatigue and strengthen regulations on regional airlines that operate short flights under the name of larger carriers.

The group, called the Families of Flight 3407, pushed hard for the implementation of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act in 2010.

A spokesman for the group said to the AP Sunday that "[T]he law is only as strong as the regulations that come from it so this (implementation) process is the true measuring stick of how this law will ultimately be viewed.”