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Congressman Peter DeFazio

Representing the 4th District of OREGON

DeFazio Questions FAA Officials on Airline Safety Lapses

Apr 3, 2008
Press Release

April 2, 2008

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman DeFazio (D-Springfield) reacted strongly today to testimony heard in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) safety oversight of airlines. The hearing was in reaction to results from an oversight investigation conducted by the committee when whistle blowers exposed that Southwest Airlines, with FAA complicity, allowed at least 117 of its aircraft to fly with passengers in violation of Federal Aviation Regulations.

Congressman DeFazio (D-Springfield) reacted strongly today to testimony heard in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) safety oversight of airlines. The hearing was in reaction to results from an oversight investigation conducted by the committee when whistle blowers exposed that Southwest Airlines, with FAA complicity, allowed at least 117 of its aircraft to fly with passengers in violation of Federal Aviation Regulations.

"This is just another example of the Bush Administration’s rampant deregulation fervor putting Americans at serious risk. The FAA is a regulatory agency that is far too cozy with the airlines it's supposed to regulate," DeFazio said. "The hearing raised serious questions about whether officials in FAA are carrying out their safety responsibilities for the entire industry. It is completely unacceptable that we allow life-and-death safety measures to be ignored in favor of promoting industry."

Congressman DeFazio is a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where he serves on the aviation subcommittee. He has been intimately involved in aviation safety issues since joining the committee. In 1996 DeFazio introduced a bill, that became law, which forced the FAA to focus only on aviation safety and not the promotion of the industry. Prior to that time, the FAA had a duel mission to both promote and regulate the industry.

"I am disappointed and frankly, disturbed, to see that under the Bush Administration the FAA has reverted back to serving the industry as opposed to ensuring the safety of passengers," DeFazio said.

DeFazio’s observation and concern about the FAA’s relationship with the airline industry was echoed in the testimony at the hearing by U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel.

"We found that FAA’s Southwest inspection office developed an overly collaborative relationship with the air carrier which repeatedly self-disclosed AD violations without ensuring that a comprehensive solution was implemented. The balance has tipped too heavily in favor of collaboration, at the expense of oversight and appropriate enforcement," Scovel said.