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Colgan Air stresses commitment to safety, training, continuous improvement

12th June 2009 - 13:40 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Speaking at a hearing before the US House of Representatives Aviation Subcommittee, Colgan Air's vice-president of safety, Dan Morgan has reaffirmed his airline's strong commitment to safety, training and continuous improvement.

"Colgan Air has a strong culture of safety," Morgan emphasised in his testimony before the subcommittee. "Safety is the number-one priority for every person and every department at Colgan Air. It motivates everything we do. Safety is the foundation upon which everything else depends."

Key points made by Morgan on behalf of Colgan Air noted that:

• safety is Colgan Air's top priority. Colgan Air fulfils its commitment to safety through significant investments in training, systems and state-of-the-art equipment. This commitment is promoted by FAA-certified crew training programmes that exceed FAA requirements, embodied in numerous safety programmes and embraced by all employees.

• Colgan Air has an excellent historical safety record. The company has operated since 1991 and has flown more than 10 million passengers. Prior to the tragic Buffalo accident in February, the company never had a single passenger fatality.

• Colgan Air has a philosophy of continuous improvement. Since February, Colgan Air has implemented more improvements to ensure safety. These include a flight operations quality assurance programme; remedial training and pilot monitoring programme; threat and error management programme; increase of minimum flight experience requirements; more robust fatigue guidance; improved guidance for operating in icing conditions and use of ice protection equipment; evaluation of safety reporting systems; and more.

• Colgan Air's pilots are carefully screened. The pilots meet the same high, federally-mandated standards as pilots at major air carriers. All Captains must hold an airline transport pilot rating and undergo a rigorous, multi-tiered evaluation process before they are hired. Colgan also has made more improvements including raising the minimum qualifications for new hires to 1,000 hours total flight time.

• Colgan Air pilots are highly trained. The airline's Q400 training programme was developed in close coordination with one of the world's leading aviation training companies and is fully approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and exceeds FAA requirements. The training programme uses state-of the-art equipment such as a full-motion simulator, a flight management system trainer, and a ground flight simulator. All pilots are "type rated" on the specific aircraft they fly, and all ratings are issued by the FAA.

• compensation of Colgan Air pilots is in line with industry standards. Captains earn an average of $67,000 per year, and First Officers earn an average of $24,000 per year. These average salaries, as well as starting salaries, are consistent with the regional airline industry. Colgan Air had planned to implement increases in 2009 and will do so.

• Colgan Air's policies allow for rested and fit flight crews. Colgan Air follows the duty and rest time regulations of the FAA.  An automated crew scheduling system tracks duty time and ensures compliance with a duty limitations and rest requirements in compliance with FAA regulations.

• Colgan Air has appropriate commuting policies.  The carrier expects its pilots and all employees to present themselves fit for duty, regardless of where they choose to reside. The company realises that commuting pilots sometimes encounter difficulties getting to work in time for their rest and their assignment. Therefore, Colgan Air offers pilots an option to call the company when they know they will not be able to report on time.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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