Costello Urges Strong Final Pilot Qualification Rule

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 -- Rep. Jerry F. Costello, D-Ill. (12th CD), issued the following news release:

U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) today urged Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to issue "the strongest possible final rule on airline pilot certification and qualification requirements...." The rulemaking was called for as part of Public Law 111-216, the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010. Costello co-authored the legislation, the strongest aviation safety legislation in 50 years, which calls for all airline pilots - first officers and captains alike - to have an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. This will ensure that all pilots have a proper level of experience and will undergo appropriate training and testing. Costello noted that a timely rule will "provide certainty for pilots and airlines, improve safety, and save lives."

As Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee from 2007-2010, Costello made aviation safety a top priority of legislation to reauthorize the FAA, and introduced the safety bill after the crash of Colgan Flight 3407 near Buffalo, New York, in February 2009. As part of these efforts, he led a series of congressional hearings and roundtable discussions with input from across industry, government and the Colgan families.

From Costello's letter to Acting Administrator Huerta:

"I share your commitment to improving aviation safety, and I commend you and your predecessor for demonstrating that commitment in a number of safety-related initiatives over the past four years. In that spirit, the time has come for issuance of the strongest possible final rule on airline pilot certification and qualification requirements, in accordance with clear legislative mandates, and I respectfully urge the FAA to issue such a final rule as swiftly as possible."

"From the get-go back in the spring of 2009, Congressman Costello has been at the forefront of the effort to make sure that the lessons of Flight 3407 were fully learned, and more importantly addressed, so that hopefully no other families will be victimized by the mistakes and shortcuts that took the lives of our loved ones," stated 'Families of Continental Flight 3407' group member Susan Bourque, of East Aurora, New York, who lost her sister, Beverly Eckert, a noted 9/11 widow and activist. "While he is certainly well-respected by all sectors of the industry, he has shown an admirable willingness to put safety ahead of all other considerations, and we will never forget the tough questions and high expectations that he put forth at numerous hearings, whether it be with the airlines' executives, their lobbyists, or the FAA. While much work still remains to be completed, we cannot thank Congressman Costello enough for his role in advancing the cause of a true 'One Level of Safety'."

Costello is preparing to leave Congress after representing Southwestern and Southern Illinois for over 24-years. His work on the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 is one of his signature achievements. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at

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