FAA's Self-Evaluation Program Like "Fox Guarding the Hen House"
NAPA, Calif., April 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday, on the heels of the FAA secretly mandating removal of oxygen generators from airline lavatories, both American Airlines flight 547 and Southwest Airlines flight 812 decompressed. On BOTH flights, the oxygen masks deployed and people passed out due to an apparent lack of oxygen. The FAA justified that risk by saying that decompressions rarely happen.
"The FAA has long asserted that the airlines can self-regulate in the area of safety inspections, but clearly the airlines cannot be trusted. It's the fox guarding the hen house and it's got to stop," Kate Hanni said. "The airlines are motivated only by their bottom line, cost cutting, and razor thin margins; that doesn't leave a lot of room for 'in cabin safety' issues or tap testing the fuselage for cracks. The FAA must step in and impose fines that are meaningful and inspections that actually work to determine life or death safety issues both inside and outside the aircraft."
FlyersRights.org believes the FAA should immediately take steps to:
- Inspect fuselages of all Southwest Airlines aircraft, mandating repairs that will prevent gaping holes that cause life threatening mid-air decompression events
- Test oxygen mask deployment systems to ensure they will automatically deploy
- Test oxygen systems to ensure that oxygen is getting to the masks
- Test the walk-around oxygen canisters inside the cabin for emergency use on ill passengers to ensure that they are properly charged
FlyersRights.org believes the FAA should immediately impose mandates:
- Rescinding self-evaluation privileges when an airline has three strikes (three of the same major safety event)
- Impose fines that will be so dissuasive that the airlines will correct immediately any defects they do detect (and don't forgive those fines as is historical for FAA)
"The flying public has the right to expect that every commercial airliner to be safe, every time they fly."
"The FAA has a duty and obligation to ensure that we are safe."
"Who is responsible for our safety?"
FlyersRights.org is the largest non-profit consumer group for airline passengers with 33,000 members.