Whos Flying The Plane

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 2:38pm

Conference looks at implications of "code sharing" that allows large airlines to sell you a ticket on regional carriers.

You may buy your ticket on a major airline and even book the trip on their website, but one out of every two flights in the United States is actually operated by a regional carrier.

It's called "code-sharing", major carriers using a smaller airline, which pays crew members less, to save money.

Unfortunately, there is growing concern it may be costing passengers when it comes to safety.

Regional operators say that's simply not the case.

"We've had the rules stating one level of safety since 1995," says the Regional Airlines Association's Roger Cohen.

Still, the last six fatal U.S. airline crashes have involved regional carriers and pilot performance was cited as a factor in four of those, including flight 34-07 -- a "Continental Connection" flight actually flown by Colgan Air that crashed in Buffalo last year.

Mary Ellen Mellett's son Coleman was one of 50 passengers that died in the 34-07 crash.

An National Transportation Safety Board report indicates the captain and first officer on that flight had failed faa test check rides, did not adequately monitor their airspeed and ultimately performed the wrong maneuver when warnings sounded in the cockpit, causing the plane to stall and crash.

Coleman's family and others from flight 34-07 believe if major carriers paint their logo on the side of a regional plane they should be held just as accountable.

"I would like to se the liability flow also to the major airline as it does to the regional airline so there's real culpability and real responsibility," says Ken Mellett.

After the flight 34-07 crash Congress raised standards for commercial pilots and many in the industry say there has been renewed cooperation and an enhanced focus on safety between regional airlines and the larger carriers.


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