Amendment Urges FAA to Get Tough After Allegiant Issues Uncovered

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted an amendment offered by Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) as part of his continued advocacy for improved passenger safety in the wake of troubling reports of issues with Allegiant Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) highlighted by 60 Minutes and the Tampa Bay Times. Allegiant operates 95 percent of all flights at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport located in the Pinellas County district Crist represents, prompting him to call on the the U.S. Department of Transportation to take action improving passenger safety, reforming the FAA, and holding Allegiant Airlines accountable for past safety violations. (Click here to watch Crist offer his amendment on the House floor and find the full text of his remarks below).

Crist's amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act commissions an investigation into whether or not the FAA’s "Compliance Philosophy" prioritizing communication over enforcement, which was enacted in 2015 and discussed on 60 Minutes, is an effective means for increasing passenger safety. The amendment is supported by the Transport Workers Union (TWU); Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO; Travelers United; and Consumers Union.

Statement of the Honorable Charlie Crist on Amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act:
I thank the Chairman and the Ranking Member for their leadership and bipartisanship on this bill.

Americans who watched 60 Minutes last weekend, or who read the Tampa Bay Times, were shocked by serious airline safety concerns – specifically with Allegiant Airlines, a carrier that operates 95 percent of the traffic at my hometown airport.

It raises questions about the FAA’s “Compliance Philosophy” focused on fewer enforcement actions, more working quietly with the airlines behind the scenes on safety issues. 

I sure hope it’s true that airlines are more likely to self-report safety incidents if they do not fear retribution.

But lives are at stake, and we must get the facts. 

My amendment would require an investigation into whether this hands-off approach is in fact working.

Profits can never trump passenger safety.  

I ask my colleagues to support this straightforward amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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