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Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

Congressman DeSaulnier Questions Aviation Agencies on Safety and Near-Miss Incidents at SFO, Other Airports

February 27, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, at the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s  Aviation Subcommittee hearing on “The State of Aviation Safety,” Congressman DeSaulnier (CA-11) questioned officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) about the importance of cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) and their value in investigating runway safety incidents. During the hearing, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation cited data that revealed runway incursions increased by nearly 83 percent between 2011 and 2017.

“As a frequent flyer, I am proud that the number of accidents in our nation’s air travel system has steadily declined and that our system is so safe. Rather than sit back and get comfortable, we should instead shift our focus to studying near-miss incidents, which are on the rise, to learn what we can and avoid catastrophes in the future. Today, both the NTSB and the FAA agreed that access to data recorded in the cockpit can help us maintain and maybe improve our safety record,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

The rise of runway incursions and the increasing number of close calls involving planes nearly landing on taxiways or incorrect runways, including three incidents at SFO, prompted Congressman DeSaulnier to call for an urgent response to ensure federal agencies are learning everything they can to prevent an accident before it happens.

Just last week, DeSaulnier led a request, with Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA), for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review data on safety incidents and FAA’s framework for responding to them. In December of 2017, DeSaulnier called on Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) to hold a hearing on improving aviation safety.

A clip of DeSaulnier’s exchange from today’s hearing with FAA and NTSB can be found here.