Bipartisan Letter Urges FAA to Close Safety Loophole in Airline Regulations


(WNY News Now) – Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23) and fellow Congressmen Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Jake Ellzey (TX-06) have spearheaded a bipartisan letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), urging the agency to address safety concerns surrounding scheduled passenger airline operations.

Washington D.C. – In a significant bipartisan effort, Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23), accompanied by Congressmen Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Jake Ellzey (TX-06), has taken a stand against a concerning loophole in federal aviation regulations that allows certain passenger airlines to operate under lower safety standards while being categorized as “public charters.” These operations skirt crew rest requirements, pilot training standards, and maintenance regulations that are typically mandated for passenger airlines, even when they operate the same type of aircraft.

The trio of Congressmen has penned a letter addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in response to the agency’s Notice of Intent to revise rules that govern these potentially unsafe practices. The letter emphasizes the need for a uniform and elevated safety standard for all scheduled passenger airlines.
“Unfortunately, a loophole in existing federal aviation regulations enables some passenger airlines to operate scheduled service under lower safety standards as ‘public charters.’ These are not traditional charter operators. Travelers who book tickets on these airlines may not be aware of the FAA’s bifurcated safety rules, which allow these operations without the same crew rest requirements; pilot training and experience standards; or flight dispatch and maintenance requirements that most other airlines must follow, even when operating the same type of aircraft,” the members wrote.

The letter further underscores the importance of setting consistent standards in the aviation industry, ensuring that once safety and security regulations are established, they apply equally to all scheduled passenger airlines. Congressman Langworthy, who has been a vocal advocate for aviation safety, recently played a pivotal role in amending this year’s FAA Reauthorization legislation (H.R. 3935). This amendment was designed to maintain pilot training hours following the tragic crash of Colgan Air Flight 2407 in Clarence, NY, demonstrating his commitment to bolstering aviation safety standards.

The letter to the FAA, which has received support from 53 Members of Congress, showcases the bipartisan unity behind this critical issue.

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