Sometimes party ties mean more to Senators than consumer safety. With the upcoming Presidential election only months away, partisan fighting is at an all time high causing important bills to stall in the Senate. The most recent bill to fall victim to this partisan squabble is legislation to modernize and fund the Federal Aviation Administration including such provisions as money for a satellite-based air traffic control system and a mandatory two-year prohibition on official contact between the agency and former FAA inspectors who go to work for airlines.
The bill, which had already passed the House, came as a result of an investigation showing a close relationship between airlines and FAA inspectors which had led to serious lapses in FAA’s oversight. In fact, in April, a failure to comply with airworthiness directives caused American Airlines to ground more than 3,000 flights affecting more than a quarter-million passengers.
The bill also included provisions that would have provided water and food to passengers stranded for more than four hours, it would have strengthened the voluntary self-disclosure program, and it would included an independent review board to investigate air safety issues.
Both parties continue to claim that the bill may come to live again, but are we really ready to wait as passengers until the parties work out their differences.