FAA Takes Closer Look at Airline Safety

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The airline industry is under a microscope this week.  Some 150 people have died in crashes aboard regional carriers in the last seven years and the FAA and Department of Transportation are looking to make some major changes.

Fifty people lost their lives when Continental flight 3407 crashed Feb. 12.  Though the plane bore the familiar Continental name, it was actually operated by a smaller regional carrier -- Colgan Air.  

Regional airline safety is the focus of this week's emergency summit.

They carry 160 million passengers a year and safety standards are supposed to be the same as they are for major carriers.

"This is all one industry. One level of safety.  That's something the industry is committed to 24-7," said Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airline Association.

But transportation leaders say the doomed flight from Newark to Buffalo is proof the level of safety isn't the same. 

The summit produced an immediate "to do" list.  It includes expanding the "Pilot Records Improvement Act" to give employers greater access to what's in a pilot's file.  There are plans to pressure airlines to monitor data from every flight more closely and to require the FAA to increase inspection of pilot training.

Major airlines require pilots have more than 1,000 hours of of flight time before being hired, but some regional airlines have hired them after just a few hundred hours.

Regaining trust includes establishing a program for more experienced pilots to mentor those with less experience and finding a way to decrease pilot fatigue.

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.