WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta has actually sent a letter of apology to Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for a mix-up which provided incorrect information to the members of the Families of Flight 3407 group.
The families of the victims of the 2009 crash in Clarence have been pressing for increased flight safety standards including more training for pilots and more qualifications for hiring of pilots by airlines. And they were back in Washington on Tuesday to meet with lawmakers and FAA staffers. They also held a vigil on the fourth anniversary of the tragedy.
The Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 includes such provisions but they have not been fully implemented. The families say the airline industry is also pushing back against some of the requirements and they are frustrated with the FAA's slow pace in putting the new law into effect.
In his letter, Huerta says members of the Families group were actually given a handout by a staffer which indicated the Flight Crew Member Training Rule may be published in 2014. The families say that contradicted Schumer's statements that the rules would be implemented later this year.
Huerta says the handout erroneously mentioned 2014. He says that they are doing everything possible to move forward with the safety initiatives. He also states he is committed to finishing work on the pilot qualifications rule by August and the Flight Crew Member training rule by October.
Kevin Kuwik of the Families of Flight 3407 says they will keep pressing lawmakers to in turn push the FAA to keep its word with the requirements. He also says the stated deadlines, now in writing in the letter, will help emphasize their quest for changes.