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Aviation injury and airline safety law – May 26, 2011

As a pilot and a Missouri aviation injury lawyer, I am always interested in legislation that affects airline or air travel safety. I particularly admire the work of groups like the “Families of Continental Flight 3407” who work so hard to improve aviation safety reform.

The “Families of Continental Flight 3407” was organized immediately following the tragic crash of 3407 near Buffalo, New York on Feb. 12, 2009 as a support network and an advocate for reforms affecting aviation safety.

The group’s work was rewarded this last week when Congressman Bill Shuster asked the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee to withdraw his amendment from consideration in the conference committee.  The Shuster Amendment, as it was called, had been sought by the airline and air cargo industries, and was added by the House to a FAA bill in March.

The amendment would have required the FAA to assess any adverse effects on the efficient functioning of the economy, together with a quantification of such costs. National Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman testified that the amendment would make writing safety regulations more complex and time-consuming.

The “Families of Continental Flight 3407” had campaigned against the amendment from the beginning, believing that it would jeopardize the FAA’s efforts to implement the sweeping aviation safety law enacted last year in response to the tragic crash of flight 3407.

The FAA has been operating under a series of short-term extensions of its program authority since 2007, with the current operating authority for FAA programs set to expire on May 31.

In withdrawing his amendment, Shuster stated: “It is apparent that the inclusion of my amendment in the FAA bill may slow down conference negotiations and delay the adoption of this critical legislation to dramatically reform and streamline Federal Aviation Administration programs, modernize the nation’s aviation system, and spark much needed job-creation through aviation infrastructure improvements.”

The “Families of Continental Flight 3407” can take solace in striking another blow in the fight to improve the safety of airline travel and aviation.

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