AFA-CWA Applauds Congressional Committee For Upholding FAA Oversight
April 3, 2008
Washington, DC - As frontline safety professionals, flight attendants have a vested interest in all aspects surrounding airline safety. Today's Congressional hearing regarding the lack of oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reaffirms claims made throughout the years by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA). Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President, issued the following statement in response to the marathon hearing.
"We applaud Chairman Oberstar and the entire House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for holding this vital hearing regarding the cozy relationship between the FAA and the aviation industry. For decades, AFA-CWA encountered numerous times the FAA's failure to perform their most basic role, regulatory oversight of the aviation industry.
"On countless occasions, flight attendants have been the victims of the FAA's oversight failures, and AFA-CWA has spent a great deal of time and effort in ensuring that the FAA's obligations to the American people are upheld. In Chairman Oberstar's opening statement, he referred to an AFA-CWA initiative that prevented the removal of overwing exits on certain aircraft, which ultimately led to a global standard in aircraft design and has been instrumental in the safe evacuation of hundreds of passengers. In this instance, as in most instances, the FAA's initial reaction was to approve requests from the industry that would be beneficial to the airlines and the manufacturers.
"For far too long, the FAA has turned a blind eye to their duties. In addition to dragging their feet on requiring a proven evacuation procedure, the FAA most recently considered eliminating live evacuation testing. This proposal, made yet again by airlines who stand to save a great deal of money, would have relied on a computer to evaluate evacuation techniques instead of the real-life demonstrations that have been able to uncover problems with aircraft evacuation systems and airline evacuation procedures. Yet again, instead of protecting the best interests and safety of the traveling public, the FAA was acting on behalf of the aviation industry.
"In 2006, AFA-CWA flight attendants staged a sleep-in at FAA headquarters in an effort to force the release of the results of a study, already over a year overdue, on the dangerous effects that fatigue has on flight attendants. Today, the FAA is ignoring repeated requests by AFA-CWA to permit flight attendants to participate in cabin air sampling that could lead to cleaner and safer aircraft cabin air for both flight attendants and passengers.
"Once again, we thank and applaud the Committee for their oversight on this matter and for their continued dedication to forcing and prodding the FAA to perform their most basic duties. It is long overdue, but it is time none the less, for the FAA to realize that they do not work for the carriers, they work for the taxpayers and for the safety of the traveling public."
For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.