May 26 - Signatory Letter To members Of Congress Regarding Colgan Air Crash

May 26, 2009

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye; Sen. Thad Cochran; Sen. Robert C. Byrd; Sen. George Voinovich;Sen. Patty Murray;Sen. Christopher Bond; Sen. John D. Rockefeller, IV;Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison; Sen. Byron L. Dorgan; Sen. Jim DeMint; Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman;Sen. Susan M. Collins; Rep.James L. Oberstar;Rep. John L. Mica;Rep. Jerry F. Costello;Rep. Thomas Petri; Rep. David R. Obey;Rep. Jerry Lewis;Rep. David E. Price; Rep. Harold Rogers;Rep.John W. Olver; Rep. Tom Latham;Rep. Bennie G. Thompson; Rep. Peter T. King;Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee; Rep. Charles W. Dent

Dear Members of Congress:

We the undersigned represent the interests of millions of business travelers who utilize the U.S. aviation system each day; we write to you subsequent to recent NTSB hearings regarding the Colgan Air crash. Weurge you to conduct hearings in the larger context of formulation of a national air transportation policythat appropriately articulates public policy expectations regarding optimizing safety and minimizing cost in our aviation system and that provides an opportunity for the creation of a financially viable airline industry.

The U.S. deregulated the airline industry in 1978 but in the aftermath of the intense Congressional debates about deregulation itself, has never had an inclusive, thoughtful public-policy debate about what ought to be the priorities of national policy with respect to air transportation. As a consequence, Congressional involvement in aviation policy has been somewhat limited to lurching from one crisis to the next, sometimes adding to a patchwork of disconnected policy prescriptions which fall far short of coherent aviation policy.

Following the tragic crash at Buffalo, travelers, travel agents and corporate travel managers were taken aback by news reports that itemized much larger differences in pilot compensation and experience between regional and major airlines than most observers were aware of. Taken in conjunction with revelations regarding pilot training, fatiguing commutes and other safety-related items that arose during the NTSB hearings, and in subsequent press accounts, these facts have left many in both the public and Congress concerned about the regional airline business model.

Very importantly, no matter the area of aviation – crew training & experience – aircraft maintenance – air traffic control – travelers should accept nothing less than a single and high regulatory standard and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) willing to do its enforcement job.

We believe that the public has the right to expect that whether the aircraft is a Dash 8 approaching Buffalo in icy conditions or an Airbus 320 without power over the Hudson, it will be operated by reasonably paid, carefully trained, fully experienced and career-oriented pilots with the necessary resources of experience and intellect to make full use of the sophisticated technologies available to them.

Hourly wages for a regional pilot start at $12.50 per hour, according to The co-pilot of the Colgan Air regional aircraft that crashed in Buffalo made $23 an hour, according to reports. That compares with an average hourly wage for New York City cab drivers of $17, and $20 for Atlanta bus drivers. However, these cab and bus drivers are not commuting across multiple time zonesonly to land from a “red eye” flight and operate their vehicles.

We urge Congress to initiate the long-overdue process of developing a coherent national air transportation policy that ensures the safety and security of the flying public and protects and strengthens this national infrastructure so vital to our economy and way of life.


International Airline Passengers Association

Association of Corporate Travel Executives

Association of Professional Flight Attendants

Business Travel Coalition

Consumer Travel Alliance

Mid-Atlantic Aviation Coalition

Travel Management Alliance

Teamsters Airline Division

Teamsters Local Union 747

Teamsters Local Union 961

Allied Pilots Association

Air Transport Division - TWU of America AFL – CIO

Bonaire Hotel & Tourism Association

SeaWorld San Diego

Topaz International

SAS Autosystemtechnik Verwaltungs GmbH

Embassy Suites

Tween Brands, Inc.

Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc

Sterling Jewelers Inc.

AAA Corporate Travel Services

The Travel Team, Inc.

Omega World Travel

BCD Travel

MTS Travel

Yale University

The University of Texas at Austin

Global Hospitality Advisors, LLC

Eaton Corporation

FM Global

Lowe's Companies, Inc.

HealthCare California

Inter IKEA Group

Liberty Global Europe

Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute

Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

MAG Industrial Automation Systems


Academic Travel Consulting

The Crump Group

ADTRAV Travel Management

ACCESS Destination Services

All Seasons Travel

Ashford Suites Hotel

Buon Viaggio Travel

Cereal Chillers Inc

CONCENTRA Conference Management Services

Eton Travel Agency Ltd

FLO Corporation

Global Travel

Dial-A-Tour, Inc.

LXR Travel LLC

Metro Travel & tours, Inc.

Robert P. Schron Associates Ltd.

Teplis Travel Service

The Expedition Development Company, Inc.

The Travel Authority

TranSystems Corporation

Watlow Electric Manufacturing Company

Mendelsohn & Associates

Anthony Travel

CI Travel

A Plus Travel Corp.

Best Travel, Inc.

AvCon World Ltd.

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