Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  December 22, 2009 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

5:00 pm
cusp of accomplishing as the president and his team. i will take one more from christina. then we will disappear for 2009. >> the white house pressured the fda to send this letter to kill the drug ring importation amendment. what is the white house response to this? the fda is not denying it. the senator stands by his charge. .
5:01 pm
this is a 10-year concern. the notion that this crop up in the last couple of weeks, those notions about safety have been there for quite some time. happy holidays, guys. >> [unintelligible] >> enjoy your holidays. thank you. i cannot even tell you -- no. >> [unintelligible] any comment? >> i have not seen that information. thanks. >> also at the white house today, president obama met with several small community bank ceo's. his remarks to reporters after that confirmed that he would stay at the white house until the senate completes its work on health care legislation. >> all right, everybody. it is good to see all of you.
5:02 pm
i just completed a meeting with 12 regional community banks to have the same conversation i had with some of the larger banks last week and i have been having with ceo's from companies across the country over the last year. that is, how do we continue to sell a baby gains we have made during the course of this -- continue to consolidate the gains we've made during the course of this year? so that we are starting to see people hired again, people able to finance their homes, finance college educations and so forth? >> community banks serve of vital function all across the country. they are folks who know their customers. they do not just lend them money, but provide them advice. they are intimately woven into the fabric of the community.
5:03 pm
i think it's fair to say that most of these community banks were not engaged in some of the hugely risky activities that precipitated the financial crisis. at the same time, they continue to do their best in their regional markets to make sure the businesses who are now being affected by the recession are able to pull themselves back up. what i wanted to do was go around the room and hear from each of them. not all of these communities are the same. we have everything from kalamazoo to harlem. they focused mostly on farm loans. there were general themes. one, there are businesses that are looking for loans that are profitable and ready to make money, and the key is to match them up with banks that are in a position to lend. there are some banks that are
5:04 pm
seeing the increase in the savings rate, giving them a pretty good capital base. they are still constrained by some regulatory restraints. we are looking to see if there are possibilities to cut some of the red tape. we do not have direct influence over our independent regulators, but we think the more we can highlight, perhaps the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of not landing after a decade in which it may have gone way too far the other direction of giving money out with too much risk. if we can get that balance right, there are businesses and communities that are ready to grow again. we have to help make that happen. i also had a discussion with all of these bankers about the prospects for financial regulatory reform. as i said, many of the issues when it comes to large systemic banks, what precipitated the
5:05 pm
crisis on wall street does not apply to the smaller banks. most of them are very supportive of the idea of financial regulatory reform. i think they just want to make sure that as we regulate better that that does not automatically mean we are going to load them up with more paperwork and burdens. we do have obligations to make sure that the regulatory schemes we come up with are more streamlined and more efficient and are sending clear signals to the banks and bought. i did emphasize to them that community banks do have a responsibility to lend to their customers and many of the consumer protections, in efforts to create a single consumer financial protection agency, would apply to them. we think that is important.
5:06 pm
every bank, large and small, is providing credit cards and debit cards and providing mortgage loans. and we think the more we are making sure the banks are not competing by how obscure their this fine print is, but competing on the quality of their service, the better of consumers are going to be and ultimately, the better of things are going to be. i very much appreciates them all coming in. i think the main mission -- main message i want to take away is there remains enormous opportunities as we, of -- as we come out of this recession for businesses to grow and start hiring again. everything we are going to be doing here in the white house for the next several months is going to be geared toward
5:07 pm
spurring additional lending, particularly to small businesses, because we feel very optimistic that the worst is behind us and now is the time to seize opportunities. with that, i want to wish everyone -- if i do not see you guys before christmas -- a happy christmas. merry christmas and happy new year. all right? thank you, guys. >> thank you. >> i will not leave until my friends in the senate have completed their work. if they are making sacrifices to provide health care to all americans, then the least i can do is be around and offer them any encouragement and last- minute help were necessary. all right? >> [unintelligible] >> that is the deal. thank you, guys. >> now remarks from one of the
5:08 pm
bankers who met with president obama at the white house. >> [unintelligible] >> sure. the president's message was that they are listening, they know the community banks did not create this train wreck. they know be our common sense lenders and that we have traction in the communities of this nation and we are working hard. he is in support of that. >> did he encourage you to lend more? >> he did urge just to blend more. we talked at some length about the 504 program and trying to get more banks in that process. >> [unintelligible] it ministration to help small banks [unintelligible] did you want to park money? >> id is problematic -- it is
5:09 pm
problematic for some banks -- i speak from the michigan standpoint. we have challenges. ñrmany of those banks have a ve, very difficult time that could use tarp money, but do not qualify because of their fdic ratings. we have an open discussion about waste. we have to try to give them an opportunity to survive in this economy. >> did he talk to you about regulations? >> did he talk to you about the financial regulation legislation? what he would like to see on that? >> he did. he talked about the regulatory reform bill. obviously, from a community bankers standpoint -- banker's stand point, we do need more
5:10 pm
regulation in our industry. >> did the president make any assurances? >> he did not. >> did he say he was going in that direction? >> he did not. that is something that are just going to be looking at. >> did he speak about a new program to encourage lending to small business? dicdid he talk about our arrest restricted capital program? -- a less restricted capital program? >> no, he did not. >> do you think it is wise for consumers to take their money out of big banks and put them into your bank? " the short answer is yes. adding the community banks -- >> the short answer is yes. i think the community banks lend at ground level. i will take michigan as an
5:11 pm
example. we lent to other parts of the country where the economy is not in as bad shape. those are dollars that are now not being alone in michigan in the state of michigan. i think more dollars in the community banks would certainly help local economies. that is what i would encourage. >> [unintelligible] what you think are the problems the big banks are facing as far as capitalization? >> i think that is a problem, yes. >> [unintelligible] >> commercial real estate is an issue right now. we certainly have an over abundance in our state. it speaks to the issue of the amount of inventory and perhaps over-valuations. it is really a difficult situation for community banker to plan for local real-estate right now. can i stop right here? i appreciate you guys very much. thank you, all.
5:12 pm
>> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> tomorrow on "washington journal," a conversation on crime and punishment that it o'clock eastern, with the executive director for the national association for victims' assistance. and then the executive director of the sentencing project. plus headlines and viewer calls and e-mail. >> c-span -- christmas day. a look ahead at 2010 politics, including republican congressman error kantor and david gregory -- eric kantor.
5:13 pm
later, a former cia intelligence officer on the u.s. strategy against al-qaeda in afghanistan. and remembering the lives of william f. buckley jr. and senator ted kennedy. all next week, are rare glimpse into america's highest court threw unprecedented conversations with 10 supreme court justices about the court, there were, in the history of the iconic supreme court -- their work and the history of the iconic supreme court building. >> in his home state of alabama, congressman parker griffith announced he is switching parties. the first term democrat says he will join the republican party. this is about 15 minutes. >> thank you for being here. i appreciated. this is a big day. it is a big day for me. it has been a tough decision. my family and i have thought
5:14 pm
about it. i just want to say thank you for taking the time of the middle of the day. it has been an immense pleasure. as most of you know, i was elected by the people of north alabama as an independent conservative congressman. i am pro-business, pro-live, pro-second amendment, and have worked hard to support our defense programs and represent our alabama values. however, as the 111th congress has progressed, i have become increasingly concerned that the bills and policies pushed by the current democratic leadership are not good for north alabama or our nation. and more important, they do not represent my values and convictions. while i voted against health care, cap and trade, and huge stimulus bill, i now believe i have to go further and stand with the party that is more in tune with my beliefs and
5:15 pm
convictions. for that reason, i am announcing today that i am joining the republican conference immediately. this was not an easy decision for me. i only arrive at this step after much discussion, much prayer, and i take this step because i believe our nation is at a crossroads. and i can no longer aligned myself with a party that continues to pursue -- a line myself with the party continues to pursue legislation with -- that will hurt our country and drive us further and further into debt. unfortunately there are those in the democratic leadership that continue to push an agenda focused on massive spending, tax increases, bailout, and the health care bill that is bad for our health care system, bad for our patients, and bad for our physicians. i have always considered myself to be an independent voice and
5:16 pm
have tried to be that voice in congress. after watching this agenda first hand, i now believe the differences between the two parties could not be more clear. for me to be true to my core beliefs and values, i must align myself with the republican party and speak out clearly on these issues. i have also been concerned about supporting congress for our defense and nasa programs. these programs are not only important to our community. they are important to the future of our country. and our international allies. since election to congress, i have fought hard to educate our members on the importance of strong national missile defense program, and we must give our nasa programs more support if we are to maintain our neat -- our lead in manned space flight.
5:17 pm
i increasingly find that my allies in fighting for these initiatives come from within the republican party. as we move forward and continue to fight for these programs, i believe working at a republican in joining with richard shelby, and jeff sessions, joe bonner, spencer baccus, and other members of our delegation will make me a more effective voice. as you know, i am a physician and understand our health-care system. i spoke out early and often in my opposition to the health care bill and they voted against it in the house. it appears today that this health care bill will pass the senate in one of our first votes of the new year -- and one of our first those of the new year will be on this health care package. i want to make it clear that
5:18 pm
this bill is bad for our doctors and patients and the young men and women who are considering going into the health-care fields. as a doctor and as a republican, i plan to once again oppose this measure and hope that we can defeat this bill that is a major threat to our economy. it is a threat to our nation. it is a threat to our health care system. i know there will be those who do not support my decision. i want you to know that it is not an easy decision to make, but i always remember that i was not sent to congress to represent a party. i was sent to congress to represent the people of the fifth district. after watching as congress continues to pursue policies that burden our children with debt and threaten our economy, as someone who is deeply concerned about the future of this country, i believe that joining with the republican party and standing up against
5:19 pm
the is it local policies is what is best for our country, best for alabama, best for our children's future, best for the kitchen tables of the fifth congressional district. thank you very much for being here. >> what did nancy pelosi say to you when you told her you were going to switch parties that's what i have not heard from her. -- switch parties? >> i have not heard from her. >> but you did have to teller? >> no, i did not. >> [unintelligible] >> which one? i am not concerned about this. this is not about policies. this is about my convictions. the pundits, the handicappers, the guys to stay who is going to win or lose, they have said i was going to win this election.
5:20 pm
this is not about me winning or losing the election. this is about core beliefs. this is about something in convicted about. after seeing this far drift to the left that has occurred in congress, there is no room, really, and in the democratic party for a pro-live, pro- business, pro-second amendment conservative businessman. these individuals, like myself, are not being considered. this far drift to the left is something that, unless you see it up close, you really do not realize how severe it is. i think we're at a crossroads. i think the distinction between the parties could not be clearer. it is time for me to make a decision. you can see from my votes, the votes i have taken over the last year -- i have tried to send that message to the democratic party. it back in the mainstream, pay attention to what is goingxd onn america. we are watching them pass a
5:21 pm
health care bill that virtually two-thirds of america is saying do not pass it. leave it alone. start over again. they're completely ignoring the american people, at their own risk. >> when you got to washington, what was the one thing that made you say that needed to switch parties? >> it was not one thing. it was a series of demonstrations of their philosophy. it was a lack of concern about what and mainstream america was concerned about. it was time spent on a cap and trade bill that was one-size- fits-all, and i think that would absolutely devastate alabama's economy, make it difficult for us to recruit industry. they had no year for that. it was a cap and trade that took up three months of our time while we were losing 400,000 jobs a month.
5:22 pm
we were on a theoretical concept called cap and trade, and every month we were losing jobs. it was a series of events that led to my decision. >> what a bad democrats in your district? >> i think that will be the case. the democrats that elected me elected an independent voice, someone who would bring his experience to congress as an independent businessman, as a physician, who would make decisions for them and their children in the future. we must remember -- we are not republican americans. we are not democratic americans. we are american democrats or republicans. we need to be americans first. we need to get back to that. i will say to them i am going to represent them as hard as i have represented them. you're going to do what is right. >> are you concerned about being called up flip lopper -- a flip-
5:23 pm
flopper? >> not really. i have been called worse. >> 48. >> yes? >> [unintelligible] >> am i running out of wire? >> would you take a step back for us? >> one step back, virginia. which camera is it? here? good. thank you. >> we got some e-mail from our newsroom. they say they are very disappointed in the decision made. >> i would say that is an expected reaction. they will give some time to this, they will see that i will represent both the democrats and republicans very well. i think even the democratic party in alabama understands what is happening in washington with the national democratic party really does not represent, truly does not represent
5:24 pm
alabama. i think they will understand the decision. i understand there comment. i appreciate each and every one of them. >> this is the first time you have switched parties or change your mind? >> no. i mean, yes. it is the first time i have switched parties. it is not the first time i've changed my mind about something that has gone on. my mind is pretty open. i might change it. but not out party. >> [unintelligible] of the sleek, there were some things that made to question and -- obviously, there were some things that made to question. >> absolutely, the first stimulus bill was poorly thought out. we watched no negotiations go on with aig and huge bonuses paid back, coming out of the pockets of every american taxpayer.
5:25 pm
we watched our leadership nor thousands and thousands -- ignored thousands and thousands of job losses each month, continuing to pursue a stimulus package, a cap and trade bill, a health care bill, when men and women were losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands. we have lost 700 million jobs in the last year plus. i was disappointed when we did not fund the transportation and infrastructure bill that would have put thousands of people back to work. the stimulus bill did not have verification in that. we did not know if we are putting americans back to work or non-americans back to work. a lot of disappointment. i was willing to discuss it. i was willing to work with anyone that would listen to me. i did not find a had a place of the table. >> the state party called on
5:26 pm
parker griffith to return thousands of dollars of democratic nations -- >> we will be happy to do that. absolutely. >> [unintelligible] water you going to give to your district -- what are you going to give to your district? >> i think they have seen what i have been able to do. even though i have voted against the administration on initiatives, i have been able to bring several hundred thousand dollars for a new science building at u of a. i know how to work across the aisle. i am going to bring to the fifth district jobs. i am going to protect the jobs that are here. i am going to make sure that nasa, the space program that started in this district, has
5:27 pm
save lives all over the world, i'm going to make sure that when you go in for a dual-energy ct scanner, that the technology took place here. when you or your wife has a mammogram, i am sure you will know that the technology in the hubble telescope makes that mammogram even more accurate. i am going to make sure we fund it nasa. the continue to be disappointed that we, who went to the moon, we need to go again. i am looking for commitment from the administration. >> last question -- do you believe this will play any role in the next election? >> i did not make it with a political concern. i will run a race.
5:28 pm
i love politics. i love to politic. i love people. i love this district. this is not about politics. is about a conviction that i have that america is on the wrong track and the leadership in congress is taking us down the wrong road. it it was not about politics. >> thank you. >> tomorrow on "washington journal," a conversation about crime and punishment at 8:00 a.m. eastern time, with the executive director of the national association for victim assistance. and the executive director of the sentencing project. plus headlines, of your calls in the malls. -- fewer calls and e-mail. >> c-span -- a look at 2010 politics. including republican congressman eric kantor and david gregory.
5:29 pm
buzz aldrin on the legacy of apollo leaven. later, a former cia intelligence officer on u.s. strategy against al-qaeda in afghanistan. and remembering the lives of william f. buckley jr. and senator ted kennedy. >> now available -- c-span's book "abraham lincoln, great american historians on our 16th president." it is a unique contemporary perspective on lincoln from journalists and writers. from his early years to his life in the white house and his relevance today. abraham lincoln -- in hard cover at your favorite bookseller and now on digital audio to listen to any time, available were digital audio downloads are sold. learn more at c-span.org/ lincolnbook. >> glenn tilton talks about his
5:30 pm
company and its growth over the year. united operates 100 daily scheduled fight -- flights. it's remarks that the executives club of chicago are about -- his remarks at the executives club of chicago are about 40 minutes. >> during our presentation, we will have staff members circulating in the audience will be happy to take your questions if you like to write those on index cards at your table. read your hands and staff will pick this up and we will take a few questions at the end of the presentation. i now have the privilege and pleasure of introducing a speaker today, the chairman and ceo of united airlines, chicagos hometown airline, glenn tilton. [applause] united and united express operates more than 3100 daily flights, including the most
5:31 pm
flights out of o'hare airport in an operation that employs 48,000 men and women, including 13,000 in illinois. prior to joining united, he was vice chairman of the board of directors of chevron texaco,, and previously served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of texaco inc'. he has led united through one of the most turbulent times in the airline industry. at the same time, he has brought united back as an active participant in the business and civic affairs in chicago, and we're delighted to have the opportunity to see you now that you have moved the headquarters down to the downtown area. he is on the board of directors of abbott laboratories and northwestern memorial hospital.
5:32 pm
he serves as chairman of the american cancer society's ceo's against cancer and has led united's action against the disease. he serves on the board of science and industry. his commitment to chicago was self-evident, and we're pleased he could join us today to discuss the airline industry and its role in our future. from his perspective as the chairman of united and the chairman of an industry trade organization representing leading u.s. airlines to transport more than 90% of all u.s. air traffic passengers and cargo traffic. please join me in welcoming glenn tilton. [applause] >> thank you. thanks, david, for that kind of
5:33 pm
interaction. as david mentioned, connecting with this city is very important to my company, united coming in me personally. david took over addis ceo of itw from jim farrell who serves as a director of the united board, along with noted fellow chicagoans. among them jim o'connor, john walker, rob krause. we have at united a very good lord, focused and plans for the future. which is important for the governance and performance in the communities we serve, indeed such as chicago. the chicago business community represented here in this room stands together on the civic and
5:34 pm
community front better than any that i have personally ever known. it serves, i think, as a point of great distinction for our city. so, i am very pleased to be with you here today in chicago, our home town, as david said. i have a good number of our management team with us today. many of them sit on civic and nonprofit boards in chicago, and they also represent much of what we have been able to achieve in these past several years. some of which i would like to talk about today. being called chicago's hometown airline is not really a marketing slogan. we think united is something that has to be earned, as do most of the important things in our lives and in our businesses. it has been a very seemingly
5:35 pm
short six years since i last spoke to this forum, and much has happened to united and to our industry. but also to the broad economy. our city, our state's, and indeed our country. all in that seemingly short six years. later, as david mentioned, i willxd speak to the airline industry and is role in economic recovery -- and its will in economic recovery. -- its role in economic recovery. before i turn to the industry, however, and will focus remarque digit my remarks on united. our progress and our future. earlier this year, we announced we would move our airline
5:36 pm
operations center, bringing jobs and to the city, and moving all of our 13,000 employees in alan mulally into chicago. i am told this will make united the largest employer in the city of chicago. [applause] 37 jobs are important to our say. creating -- 3000 jobs are important to our city. we have the technology and working space to give us a real time, a comprehensive view across our entire mobile network, including our united express partners throughout the united states. facilitating data and information sharing around the world will in turn enables more collaborative decisions for us and our partners for what would
5:37 pm
be essentially united global command central. last week, i flew -- on united -- [laughter] from chicago to washington. we connected to our triple 7, ended up in our star alliance meeting in brussels. we will start our direct nonstop flight from chicago to brussels in march. once in brussels, it will connect to africa and other destinations served by brussels airlines, which we welcomed into the store lines last week. i flew back last friday to chicago. it was one of our refurbished 67 aircraft, with our new seating and the best -- the very best -- business cabin configuration of
5:38 pm
any u.s. carrier. it is a great improvement. i know it is appreciated, by our customers and by our employees alike. we continue to strengthen our global and national service, as we did in october, to the partnership with continental we forge one united brought them into the star alliance. we added destinations, including new york and a significant presence in the caribbean from their hub in houston. this is the first time a major airline has shifted alliances. -- the benefits of the global alliance are important for our major carriers.
5:39 pm
in this industry, alliances are vital. offering our customers shared frequent-flier programs, a seamless connections, and access to member lounges. if there were any doubt about the importance of alliances, but you only need to look at the efforts to recruit japan airlines by the other two global alliances. one world and sky team. we are looked at another way -- american and delta both competing for the relationship that offers more than $1 billion. in this business, that in real money. -- that israel this -- a real money. -- that is real money. we congratulate did -- congratulated boeing. last week, we announced united
5:40 pm
had 15 new aircraft with options for 100 more, including 25787's from our -- 25 787's from our home partner. it will bring advances and unified experiences for our customers and employees. important, it will reduce our feel burned by some 30%, compared with the new aircraft -- compared with the plane's the new aircraft will replace. the terms of this transaction had to meet, as you might imagine, some very high hurdles in financial terms of flexibility. but by buying smart, at the bottom of the business cycle, we secured the very best deal possible for our company.
5:41 pm
these decisions and others that we will make as we go forward have common ground. the advance our position for future success, providing a good financial return to our company and contributing to our long- term success in extraordinary, if not hyper competitive industry. the work that our people are doing to fundamentally and consistently improve performance creates the bases from which we earned the right to make such decisions, and indeed, to buy new aircraft. we are close to finishing first. united airlines, all here -- close to finishing -- o'hare -- close to finishing first. moving, regrettably, from worst to first. characterized by the best reliability performance in the
5:42 pm
history of the company in november. we are introducing new good choices, making solid improvements in the delivery of that, despite the fact that we charge you occasionally for boarding them. why we ever carried them for free is beyond me. [laughter] we continue to add new destinations, making sure that we connect you, our customers, with where you want to fly. this is important work. our customers are seeing the results. the hope you agree. we think that you do because our customer satisfaction scores are dramatically improved this year. so, as we mark the end of 2009, each of us in this room is likely -- likely to look back on the unprecedented challenges faced by our respective
5:43 pm
companies. indeed, by our city, our state, and our country. during times of extreme stress, people often instinctively attempted to withdraw and protect that which they perceive to have, rather than move forward. the new business -- while that might be understandable -- -- in business, while that might be understandable, if it is mistaken. since the put, protectionism does not work because we cannot protect our businesses from the reality of global competition. we all know -- or we should -- the essence of businesses to be profitable. of gold that has systemically diluted the airline industry -- a goal that has systemically eluded the airline industry.
5:44 pm
we of lost $27 billion since the beginning of 2008. losses since 2001 totalled some $60 billion. in the last 30 years, this industry has experienced 185 bankruptcies. it does not take a particularly prescient executive to stand here before you today and say this has to change. the u.s. industry has lost 160,000 jobs since 2001. order of magnitude? that is roughly one out of every three jobs in the last nine years. let's remember. there can be no job security in an industry without sustained job security. recently, the job industry
5:45 pm
experienced what might be described charitably as a head start for us in preparing for the global economic crisis. fuel, power largest expense, reach $147 a barrel in 2008. or more precisely, $179 a barrel for jet fuel. our company and colleague companies had no recourse but to take immediate action, targeting new revenue opportunities -- such as those bags we charge for -- cutting costs, and reducing capacity, grounding some 100 aircraft in our instance. we dramatically reduced our fleet and work force. it was not easy. but it was necessary. as fuel spikes followed by the global recession, it had a
5:46 pm
severe and punishing in back on leisure and business travel -- impact on leisure and business travel. i've been known to make the point the airline industry beach assault these executives can attest -- is not for the faint of heart. i think a made the point the last time i was here, and i can assure you it was true in 2001 and 2002. that said, perhaps remarkably, we have smart, creative, disciplined, and brazilian people -- and resilience people in this industry who are personally willing to power through the challenges the industry confronts. those personal traits i just described made today the actor is required in industries not
5:47 pm
previously known -- may today be required in industries not previously known for their predictability. recognizing the seriousness of the systemic failures of commercial aviation, in november, transportation secretary ray lahood convened a meeting of all stakeholders, including airlines, ports, consumer advocates, manufacturers. he began the process of setting up an advisory committee to address the overall economic viability of our industry. very unfortunate, -- unfortunately, each stakeholder has advocated his starkly very different and seemingly very self-serving individual agendas. there's been no consensus or support for common solutions to
5:48 pm
address long-term sustainability. balancing the needs of all stakeholders is probably the biggest single issue we face to move this industry forward. so secretary ray lahood is to be commended for providing the leadership and the realization for all stakeholders. we have a moment of reflection. it has been 16 years since the commission established by president clinton offered recommendations to address the ailing -- then -- airline industry. the recommendations of that commission were largely ignored. not surprisingly, most of the issues in many of the recommendations from the
5:49 pm
commission remained unresolved and almost certainly beyond the agenda for work by this commission. this must change. there are three main areas within the government domain that are widely held, and i believe this to be true, to have the most positive potential impact on this industry. first, the airline industry believes that we should be able to operate like any other business. hardly an extreme request. you might say we do not even need a commission to come to the conclusion. that will not be constrained by anachronistic restrictions that still exists and preclude us from using business tools and
5:50 pm
options available to other industries for investment across ventures and consolidation. in this argument, we are unique. at united, we'll long advocated for open markets even when we at united haverford competitive position that might be thought to be at risk -- have had a preferred competitive position that might be thought to be at risk. this was a significant advance in -- and rightly applauded by our senator durban as "good for chicago." the senator is right. second -- tax. taxes on airlines and you -- you, our passengers -- have now hit an all-time high. taxes by airports, the federal aviation ministration, the department of homeland security, represent as much as
5:51 pm
$60 or 20% of a $300 domestic round-trip -- round-trip ticket. we shoulder of federal tax burden that is larger than alcohol and tobacco industries pay, with no disrespect to either of them. extreme an unfair tax burden and commercial aviation and our customers -- the extreme and unfair tax burden on commercial aviation and our customers must be reduced. it is a tax on collateral economy only have the ability to create around the process of moving all of you from one place of business to another. it makes no sense. obsolete infrastructure is the third. air traffic control infrastructure is cited as inadequate and a priority by the commission, i mentioned in 1993.
5:52 pm
it was a priority in 1993. i can assure you it remains a priority today. it will certainly be one next year and a year beyond. the government must accelerate and fund the faa's next- generation air traffic control system. we have the technology that will transition america from a ground-based system, for those of you may not be aware that. we have greater technology with your gps system in your automobiles and we have in our cockpits. it will unable aircraft and more safely and efficiently through airspace. i hope you all know that mayor daley has been a strong advocates on behalf -- has been a strong advocate on behalf of the aviation industry. in his letter to president obama earlier this year on the topic of investment in this industry, he said "this is an industry
5:53 pm
that we in the global marketplace should not take for granted. the service of the airline industry provides is directly linked to the humid -- economic health of our country, came at the cities that we serve. this industry enables tourism. it has the potential to create jobs, create communities and large cities all across the globe." we contribute some eight% within the sphere of the total economy of global gdp. as mayor daley and the city of chicago know very well, a viable aviation system with very well run modern airports is fundamental for business development and for cities to successfully compete or to risk obsolescence. it is true for chicago and every
5:54 pm
city in this country. virtually every city across the globe. and more so as the world is flatter and competition has fewer geographic boundaries. chicago's o'hare airport remains world-class. certainly with the opening of the new runway earlier this year, dramatically improving -- performance for united and other airlines for o'hare airport. we will continue to work closely with o'hare airport and the city to make sure it meets the future requirements of our city, the customers, and people who depend on its service. united is focused on doing the work we need to do to ensure we can be profitable and sustainable and provide more job security for all employees that customers need.
5:55 pm
we can successfully compete with the world's best airlines, maintaining the discipline made across the industry will be critical to our collective profitability and are sustainability as the economy improves. that challenge is set against a backdrop of an appalling record of self destructive actions that compound the problems of this industry, especially in a deregulated context that i mentioned earlier. that must change. we cannot make any decisions of convenience that will prove to be unsustainable as the business cycle levels. -- evolves. nor can me as a business, and perhaps as a proxy for others, create prosperity and employment that are not earned by
5:56 pm
profitability. at united, we will continue to be disciplined in the decisions i just mentioned. we will continue to partner with government, with the federal, state, and local governments. we are pleased, my colleagues and i, a chicago is our home. we are proud to be among you today. i would like to close by saying this. everyone of us here today represents united. our industry, commercial aviation, should not be taken for granted. we all have a stake in the prosperity of this business. but that, i will close and take your questions. thank you very much. [applause] >> [unintelligible] >> thank you, glenn for those
5:57 pm
insightful remarks. be to have questions here. the first one is how has united's relationship with o'hare airport and the city of chicago grown since moving its operations into the city? >> our relationship with the city is going to grow dramatically, i think, with the movement of employees into the city. one of the most exciting things for us is the opportunity that gatherings such as this will afford the employees who will move into chicago. if you have to make a significant turning to participate in a luncheon such as this, it is more difficult to do so. certainly, our employees will be more a part of the fabric of the city. the relationship with o'hare, frankly, has been illustrative
5:58 pm
of the relationship between the hometown and the development of a fully-competitive hub to ensure the commercial success of the hub and the city to ensure the continued development of the region. i have long held the view -- i am sure you can all imagine who else i might be talking about. you lose hub status in this country, and you lose direct flights. the destinations such that i mentioned a moment ago. he meant -- you begin a process of erosion. when you go into the city, you have to compete against and o'hare -- an o'hare and you do not have one, that is the significance disadvantage. >> the star alliance is the world's largest.
5:59 pm
what will continental and other u.s.-based carrier's contribute to this organization? >> if he had read the question correctly he would also have said it is the best. [laughter] my apologies to my american colleagues in the room. it really represents the way i think airlines globally -- as i said, none of us can satisfy all of your travel requirements across the globe, alone. we can certainly do so by taking the star alliance member networks and connecting them with united. if you can imagine that network -- incidentally, if you would like to see it -- the difficulty the artist is having putting it together, it is a solid block and difficult to see. it is truly that compelling.
6:00 pm
it is perhaps not hugely significant. africa is a markets that the star alliance has got to target. it is a market of growing importance. we are focused on doing so. bringing in brussels air into the star alliance said that we can fly from washington or connects over other cities in europe to fly you directly into brussels, and you can fly long to africa, it is a very significant addition to what we are able to do. . .
6:01 pm
for it is a game changer. it is going to reduce our emissions. it will reduce our costs. it to make this a better system. it will simultaneously give a longer range to meet markets that cannot serve in today. the 787 is an ideal replacement for the 767. we have people here that represents flight operations that will be glad to talk to
6:02 pm
about it. the airbus is a good replacement. both of them are opportunistic lto replace these. we are glad. i think a good flight is one that takes off and lands. i was watching with great interest to hear about the alliance for the open skies. can you talk about what this will mean? >> absolutely. what open sky in abels is what we have already done across the atlantic. the four companies are able to offer to you a combined network presents and approach to serving you. we are able to offer and create
6:03 pm
a joint venture that optimizes all that the carriers have to offer. when we move that over, we have the same opportunities with a andñi a and continental. we have already done the work to put the adventure together. we will be filing an application for an immunized adventure that is a replica of version of the venture that we have across the atlantic. it is a very big deal for us. it is why it is seemingly worth a billion dollars. you will forgive me that, right?
6:04 pm
>> next-generation will bolster the industry 10 or 15 years down the line. how can existing structures b e improved? >> i think most of that is in our hands. there is process improvement that we can bring to bear on how it is that we route ourselves and a sense. we can be more efficient with respect to fuel burns and taking advantage with possibilities in the current system. that is a very small reword compared to modernizing the system. we have offered up to the government a three year program to affect the modernization of air traffic control in this country faugh seoul -- country so we are no longer be high mongolia.
6:05 pm
-- behind mongolia. it was a recommendation in 1993. it has not been acted upon the yet. it is unacceptable. it is time to get down with the modernization. >> health care costs are a big issue these days. how will the health care reform proposals affect profit? >> for us, the biggest issue is wellness. we have a fully represented workforce. our benefits are quite good. it remains a significant priority for s. urging us. -- it remains a significant priority for us.
6:06 pm
we offer an appealing planned to our employees. it would be not helpful to an industry that is not have cost capital. what we are focused on safety, wellness, improving the health and will being of our employees. hopper>> you mentioned about the tax issues facing the airline industry in ticket prices. what do you recommend that the common traveler do to help reduce this airline tax issue? >> the forced -- the first order of business is to be aware of it in the second is to make your review and known. -- the first order of business is to be aware of it and the second is to make your view
6:07 pm
ñrknown. this debate, there is no better time to point to the virtue of the importance of the industry and its need to earn the cost capital. >> thank you for that. i have one last question. it is saturday morning. i'm traveling on united. how does my of gray[ñ look at e moment? -- upgrade look at the moment? >> [laughter] [applause] fra>> we appreciate your insigh. it is great to hear all the good things going on at united. it is great to see the airline back in business and doing well. we have a little momentu ando fr you. we have a book about horses.
6:08 pm
thank you again for your speech today. >> it is a former motive transportation. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> tomorrow a conversation about crime and punishment with the executive director of the national organization for victim assistance. then the executive director of sentencing project. headlines, of your calls, and e- mails. this starts a 7:00 a.m.. >> and look ahead to 2010 politics, including eric kanter and david gregory. the legacy of apollo 11 but.
6:09 pm
u.s. strategy in al qaeda. remembering the lies of william s. buckley jr.. -- lidfe of william f. buckley jr. for he address new air safety regulation proposals. one would increase the flight experience required of commercial airline pilots. the hearing came days before an announcement that the federal government was limiting the amount of time passengers can be held on the tarmac. this is one hour and 50 minutes appear.
6:10 pm
>> we have had hearings on safety and fatigue. this hearing is to discuss a wide range of issues with the administrator. mr. babbitt will be talking about what he has been involved in. they are involved in the number of actions after he was sworn in as the administrator of the faa. he held a call to action meeting. that brought in regional air carriers, pilots, unions, and many others to discuss and improve safety and to reduce risk. the call to action initiatives have led the faa to seek voluntary commitment from air carriers, quality insurance is, and safety action programs. we will talk about that today. . faa as may progress in a number
6:11 pm
of areas. they held a hearing recently. we talked of an issue of 50. it has been on the most-wanted list for 19 years. they are working on that. i was disappointed at the last hearing to understand that time has slipped. we will talk about that. we are determined to try to drive this to a conclusion. commercial aviation delivers about 800 million per year to their destinations. 30,000 flights operate every day and this country safely. we have had some tragic accidents. we know how to prevent accidents in the future by addressing things that we understand are potential problems and cause
6:12 pm
potential risks. there are fatigue related accidents that have occurred in the last 20 years. one was quite recently, in my judgment, that caused many fatalities. it ought to require all of us to be urgent in our request to the faa to make progress on these issues. in recent outage has caused concern. we will ask about those today as well. it caused major delays in chaos across the country. one was november 19 of this year. one was in 2008. the bird strike issues over the hudson river collision -- those are both issues. it raises other issues.
6:13 pm
airworthiness violations -- i will ask questions about them as well. when commercial airlines fail to comply, that is a very serious problem. i know that had to take remedial action. then the air is the issue of next generation. it is very important. that will improve safety. it will save fuel. it will do a lot of things. most people nowadays understand that you can access a said the lead somewhere above the earth to get directions from that in order to move your car. -- a satellite somewhere above the earth to get directions from that in order to move your car. the technology is not available in this country for the movement
6:14 pm
of commercial airplanes. it is unbelievable to me. we are doing a ground-based radar navigation in the skies. gps navigation would be much safer. then we would know exactly where an airplane is in the sky. right now we know about where the jet is. we know about where it is because it transponder put a blip on the screen. for the next seven or eight seconds, that airplane somewhere else. we do not need to guess about where airplanes are in the sky. we need to do this on an urgent basis. all of these are important issues. he has a lot on his plate. we appreciate him being here today. if you want to say a word. elem that have opening
6:15 pm
statements. we have other members who will join us momentarily. >> that is a very kind offer. i concur with so many things that you said. i can only be here about 45 more minutes. maybe it is best that i pass on the opportunity to make an opening statement. we can proceed to the first witness. >> thank you. thank you for your very active participation in these hearings. mr. babbitt, you have only recently taken the reins of a very large agency. we appreciate that. we want to hear your comments today. we have a number of other senators who will be joining us shortly. you may proceed.
6:16 pm
it will become part of the permanent record. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for inviting me here to testify on behalf of the federal aviation administration to discuss the faa's ongoing safety initiatives. safety is the most important portion of the agency. they take this mission and their role in it very seriously. at the onset of the hearing, i like to take a moment to acknowledge a group of family members that are attending the hearing. they are representing passengers who died earlier this year. any aviation fatality is taken seriously by the faa. while i can only imagine the grief, we are very motivated to improve aviation safety so that other families could experience
6:17 pm
[unintelligible] my associate administrator interred deputy have also met with them on the number of occasions and we remain in close touch to ensure they note what we are doing in the key areas about which they have expressed concern. one area is whether all pilots flying under part 121 regulations should be required to have been air transport pilot certificate. current regulations permit a first officer to fly under part tenuity -- 121 with the commercial certificate. the avp certificate requires that the pilots have at least $1,500 -- 1500 hours flying experience. before the issue of the requirements was raised by congress, i had already asked my safety organization to start
6:18 pm
putting together an event notice to propose rule making to consider whether a new rating or endorsement could be established that would require more than what is currently required for commercial certificate. it would focus more on the actual elements required rather than the 1500 required to obtain an att. \ it would focus more on discrete training and the quality of the training to achieve the rating for t. i'm concerned they are raising quantity of hours without addressing the quality and nature of the pilot's experience may not insure the proficiency that we all want. i like to identify areas where an individual pilot received and successfully completes training to obtain professional operational experience in such areas as multi crew operations
6:19 pm
etc this option is more targeted than simply increasing the number of hours required. it assumes that once the number is achieved that it would have resulted in a comprehensive set of skills that may not be the case. another area of discussion is pilot fatigue. you mentioned this has been an issue for 19 years. i have personally championed the issue of pilot fatigue for every one of those 19 years. i have been deeply involved with this. not long after i became the administrator, i tried a rulemaking committee to make a recommendation on this issue. there was a meeting in july. well consensus was not reached on all of the issues, we were provided a good framework to consider many of the issues that contribute to pilot fatigue.
6:20 pm
at the time, i committed to an extremely aggressive time schedule for the publishing of a proposed new rulemaking. it turns out it may have been a little too aggressive. i have been briefed numerous times on the areas that need further analysis. it remained under way. it is frustrating that we will not complete the analysis. i have told the team to take the time to make certain that we do this role right. we have one opportunity. i want to complete it properly. it will be completed. i want to mention the incredible wealth of information. we are able to implement better safety improvements more quickly and more effectively when we were together on the problems and solutions. i am a believer in communication and building a consensus.
6:21 pm
where consensus cannot be reached, it is my place to make a call. i will. i am confident from this that we have built a good foundation from which the issue and further rulemaking will go. that concludes my remarks. i will be willing to answer any questions that he might have. >> thank you very much. senator rockefeller, you have just arrived. would you like to make any opening comments? would you like to begin questioning? >> i will put my statement in the record. i want to say to randy babbitt that i'm feeling guilty. you called me a couple of times. i have been lost in the deepest weeksds, bog, of health care
6:22 pm
nonstop. i want to apologize. you are doing a terrific job. will you accept my apology? >> absolutely. >> mr. chairman, i will defer to you for questions. lcorp. >> let me begin at about the question of petit burfatigue. you formed an park. they met in september. further analysis means to be done. will this relate to the issue of commuting? is committing a outside of the range of vision? why? >> they were asked to address the comments for a proposed
6:23 pm
rule. all the parties involved did not come up with any conclusions. they said commuting was an issue. they felt it was outside the boundaries of what they were looking at in terms of a petite rule. i do plan to put observations into the proposed rule, which will make it available for comment. i think everybody appreciates some of the issues here. my focus is on fatigue. my focus is on making certain that when a pilot shows up he has the responsibility to carry two passengers or 250 passengers and day except irresponsibility. froit is more of a concern to me
6:24 pm
that they show up not fatigue. people can be pitied for a lot of reason. some played an extra 18 holes of golf before they went to work. now they are tired. we are depending upon professional responsibility. i have pushed the professional ism issue. not only does the pilot have irresponsibility, but so does the carrier to not the people that are not fit to work.
6:25 pm
some of the awareness report on this session and some benefits. we have a very unfortunate incident not long ago. it was embarrassing. a pilot was observed by others and the crew to not be fit for polite but did the pilot was removed. the system does work. the meeting will be there. it will be available. >> he made a comment. let me comment on what you said. there are a number of people i see your family members of victims of the air crash. i am convinced that when all the dust settles on all of this, and their activities -- that their activities will end up saving lives. they are relentless in trying to make certain that nobody gets on
6:26 pm
an airplane in the future with a pilot and co-pilot -- one of whom has not flown in ice. one who flew across country to get to the duty station. one has been in a hotel room for the rest of the evening following an all-night flight. i am convinced that their relentless push of us in a youthful is going to make a difference. with that as a precursor, it just seems to me that the notion of saying we expect everybody to be professional is not just the answer. the question is if you now have a system in which batik clearly plays a significant role, how do you fix the system that leads
6:27 pm
you to believe you have better train crews in the cockpits? that is it for me. let me as one more. i have questions about next gen and so on before you leave. it seems to me you must look at the fatality -- the issues -- the totality of all these issues. you said you do not know whether -- you indicated that the question of a certificate is not the number of hours that to have but the training that you had. that is a qualitative judgment. how're you going to describe that in terms of what someone is going to hire.
6:28 pm
tell me how you would measure this? >> what we have proposed would be an endorsement. we use this today. someone with a commercial pilot's license the like to fly an aircraft capable of operating at high altitudes. some can operate 35,000 feet of pressure. a commercial license casino insight into that environment. the question is how to operate in that environment in recognizing what effects the thin air has on the wing and the engine performance and the narrowing of the flight envelope and the maximum speed.
6:29 pm
all of this is training. i am suggesting that we take a commercial pilot in say if you want to work for a 121 operation, you need more experience. you need to demonstrate a you have had multi crew training. you have had exposure to ice training. you have had exposure to jet engine operations. they would all the elements toward an endorsement. i am not convinced that the atp kids as the elements that we need. i am suggesting that when we finished phase one, that the requirements -- i was on the fights that landed behind air florida. it was flight 1482. i was the aircraft that landed behind the two aircraft.
6:30 pm
that airplane had a military pilots. both had atps. the first had never seen an airplane de-iced. that is wrong. the pilot was not trained for the mission. we want to insure every pilot testing every possible scenario that will be presented to them, whether they have 1500 hours or 2500 hours. it is not give me a comfort. i would rather have someone 1000 hours of have been exposed to stimulated situations. we have the ability to expose pilots to every potential environment. >> would you rather it pilot be hired today similar to florida? >> yes. >> how is it after 30 years and nothing has changed? >> that is a question i had six months to work on so far.
6:31 pm
that is one of the reasons -- >> that is unbelievable to me. a commercial license might keep you the right to fly a 210 and use pressurized aircraft and a flashlight to see how much ice is on your wings but it does not give you the capability to get in the cockpit of a commercial airline. >> that is absolutely correct. i can use my cell. i had a commercial license. i did not have an atp. i was a co-pilot for 15 years. i gained the experience. it was an honest system. it took time. what we have seen is a you can take and hire someone and suddenly you have someone in the left seat for three years and some in the right seat with one year. that is where the system has shown its weakness. >> senator rockefeller.
6:32 pm
>> thank you. mr. babbitt, at your call to action is very important. i am getting the idea that these things ought to happen. you are asking for voluntary commitments from air carriers to implement flight operation in quality insurance, etc. and all of these things. some of these voluntary commitments are also sought from labor unions to establish special standards and new procedures. i want you to know that the bill
6:33 pm
includes that all of these will be mandated. it is not a question of discussion. i am interested in how you were doing on this. because the airlines are in trouble. everybody is in trouble. the word "voluntary" becomes a way of not crushing them economically. when it comes to passenger safety coming you cannot worry about that. if amtrak went broke because we were enforcing safety standards upon them or any airline would get passengers state, we would have believed to that. that is our job. their job is to try to make it. that is very hard. we cannot shy away from our responsibilities. how you size up your call to
6:34 pm
action? how are your commitment being received? >> the call to action was a fairly robust call to action. it called for a number of things. i think we found one that made a pretty effective. what i asked the carriers to do was to advise us of everyone that had the safety programs that are out there. i put them on notice that i intended to call them out. i said you have through the end of september to advise me that you have done this. we did. it is remarkable the increase in participation that we got between the end of september and the end of october. we had a good number that responded. we have a good number who did not. we put them on our website. we the people know that these are carriers that chose not to do what we asked.
6:35 pm
i seem pleased to say that of the 98, we had positive responses from 80. for the program requires and technology which they are adopting propose. some of the carriers are very small. we should excuse a few of them. for example, if you only have to airplanes, does not do anything for it. the unions responded 100%. experts = = = >> it is a tricky. in the end, it is not. we are in hard economic times. you hear of people travelling on christmas vacation. they will be doing a lot less
6:36 pm
traveling this year. we know that. that is because of bad economic conditions. there are certain things involving public safety were you cannot compromise on safety. we cannot do it. you cannot do it. previously people may not have been a strong as you. we cannot let them. they can harm people. we have to bring the hammer down and make sure consumers come first. that is the philosophy of this committee. consumers come first. that is the new philosophy. one quick follow-up. on the next gen, which as been driving me crazy for years but we cannot get it done and that we are still behind mongolia with respect to gps and all the rest, that is only because they are building their first system. it makes a point.
6:37 pm
it is going to be great for air traffic controllers and pilots. they will be able to tell how far they are away from each other. people will be able to land more frequently. they will have a virtual vision. what will be the affect on passengers in terms of safety if we have the next gen system in place? >> better spacing, clearly and more reliable updates of the aircraft positioning. senator mentioned some of it in his opening remarks that will be there. i think there is a lot of ancillary benefits we can talk about as well, not only in safety in the aircraft the safety in the environment. there will be bought less noise and carbon emissions. there will be environmental impact. the situational awareness of the pilot is more advanced.
6:38 pm
the situational awareness of the comptroller is more advanced. it'll be a huge benefit. i have come into this situation. i know where it is now. i am really pleased with that we are beginning to see some rapid accelerations of this. we have initial operating capabilities. we are actually using the comptroller aircrafts. just like a fancy radar. we will be announcing a much more robust announcement. we are on a trial basis in now. what does that mean? it means 10,000 people a day will move on and off aircraft without radar. they can see each other. they can navigate each other. all in all, i think the benefits
6:39 pm
are enormous for all involved. >> one final 32nd answer. why do not we have that system replaced now? why have we been talking about for so long? why has no been able to step up to the plate? it will cost them more money? the president gave a great speech in oslo this morning. for the countries of responsibility. we cannot get it done. >> i think a part of it is probably our own fault. i do none of the we ever really explained are made available the understanding. you could save an enormous amount of money. i could make a good business case today. i could show you the commercial airlines will save a billion gallons of fuel a year.
6:40 pm
that is pretty easy to compute. it'll be $2 billion in savings. anybody would say this is a great deal. we need to do a better job on the business side. there is a to the point of equipment. until some mass developed people who have the equipment, the air force did not benefit in traffic as the benefit from it. i use the analysis of the hd cable operator. i will be the box when you get enough channels. and you say i will get the channels when enough people buy the boxes. we need to get the point when we need to do it. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. senator demand did not make a statement. did you have something to say? >> thank you. thank you for your persistence
6:41 pm
on safety. of that to some in my opening statement for the record. thank you. -- i would just like to submit my opening statement for the record. thank you. i am listening on how -- as you have heard, how would you be get this done? i know we have legislation in place. no matter what we try to legislate, we are not the experts. we -- some may be pilots but not to the degree we are talking about. the need for the industry to try to come up for the standards from so that they fit with the legislation, we do not want to be decades-long year for to get safety standards from the industry. allen to get your administration -- opinion of the administration
6:42 pm
-- i like to get your opinion of the administration. we are trying to push this to the end. a big part of it means to come from your side or from the pilot's side. >> i appreciate that very much. i have the benefit of being the loudest and most vocal advocate of safety in the 1990's. i appreciate what some of the stake. one thing that i have done -- i appreciate the concern about some being voluntary. i have learned what it takes to now accretive regulation of -- to help create a regulation. i have asked to do this on a voluntary basis until it can be regulated. we are working with congress. some of the information, if it were in our hands, would be discoverable. poor people would be reluctant to give it to us.
6:43 pm
let into the hands of the carriers, it is not. we are working with all the committees to find ways we can immunizes information so that people will continue. >> i see that is a key. if you can become that and pull these voluntary standards to and to treat the critical mass, it and you say they will not do that because of liability -- maybe that is something we can do to make sure these ideas are sent to you and you can continue to give us those ideas on what we need to do. >> i would just add one point. we are here today, principally looking back at a tragic
6:44 pm
accident i would love to be able to find the data that caused the accident. i want to find the data before the accident. i want to get the information to us so we can predict the accident so whenever have of this. you can be talking to about budget issues and not about tragedies. information will take us through that gate. >> plessy. -- thank you. >> hopi have focused on four important things. i want to talk to about this community issue. i want to talk to you about private experience, salary -- about pilot experience in salary. and in equipment. help me understand commuting. say i am a pilot in san diego.
6:45 pm
the plight that i am going to fly from the region in in new york city. -- fly originate in new york city. that flight from san diego to new york city that and make every week to get on my flight -- how is that factored into safety regulations or is it? is it just not counted? >> currently, it is not counted. commuting, what do not think the majority of pilots communique kate -- to meet -- commute, they would commute based on short- term events. it may be new piece of equipment in another area. they would commute within their own system. if you the commuting, you will
6:46 pm
find the vast majority is limited to their own systems. one had a base in [unintelligible] and new jersey. there would commutes on their own airline. longer distance commuting is something different. it does not count. i committed myself for five years. >> i am not questioning anybody is professionalism. i understand the issue of living away from home. all listed at here. flying back and forth even halfway across the country every week is a hard work. it is tiring. it is exhausting. you start to weaken. you feel you have not had a break. just in our own experience, and
6:47 pm
i'm not flying the airplane, i am sitting in the back in catching a cat nap. that cannot be a good thing. i appreciate what i'm suggesting here probably turns the system upside down. if you show up tired comic you cannot fix that until you get some rest. >> the roll as it is stated today says the you will not show up there. did you have an obligation and professional responsibility to make certain you are fit some. >> but we do police that. nobody is standing there saying did you fly for the night to get there. >> no. >> let me ask you about experience. i always assumed flap that pilot and co-pilot were equally capable of flying the airplane.
6:48 pm
i thought that was the safety valve i had. i am beginning to question whether that assumption was correct. i'm beginning to wonder whether co-pilot is training ground. co-pilot is there hopefully to someday get to a point where they can beat the pilot. is that a more accurate read of that? >> both pilots are very well qualified. they go through the same basic training procedures. the captain has a more stringent requirements. he has to come regardless of whether the co-pilot has a reading cannot, the co-pilot is not have to demonstrate some of the maneuvers. the co-pilot cannot perform some of the functions in certain weather conditions. there are restrictions on its capabilities. everybody has to start somewhere.
6:49 pm
utopia would be that every pilot in every airplane has fly everywhere for five years. the can that happen. when a first officer is new, he cannot fly with a new captain. he must fly with a trained pilot to watch the first 100 hours he flies. next he can live with someone but cannot be an inexperienced line capt.. there are some protections in there. it is simply impossible. everybody has to start somewhere. we protect that by restricting some of the things we allow them to do as a first officer. >> is the training ground or
6:50 pm
level of experience different if i am flying from scotts bluff to laramie than if i'm flying from new york to san diego? >> no, sir. some routes require -- for example, high altitude airports or foreign countries, might need some special training. >> but me ask a quick question. i'm going to pass by seller. -- salary. i think someone who is making that kind of salary, i do and how they are supporting their family. maybe it is not our role to get in the middle. i want to get to acquit them. -- equipment. when i was governor, i will never forget the first day the
6:51 pm
pilot turned back and says i'm turning on the de-icing. i looked out at the wings. i could see some ice building up. i saw a balloon expand. i thought, wow. tell me about this buffalo plight in the equipment they were using. i want your honest assessment about how good that equipment is in a flight pattern that is going to deal with icing issues on a regular basis. >> we just issued a very exhausted icing rule. it is replacing, recognizing the time it takes to put the rule out.
6:52 pm
i do not believe it will find it out. kaduna believed it was a factor here. the causal factor was a stall warning. the fundamental improper response to a very basic warning that the crew had been well trained for and did not follow the procedures. but thank you. thank you. ha >> thank you. i appreciate it. i want to do a couple of comments on issues.
6:53 pm
in alaska, the flights are not contracted out. we appreciate that. we think they do a great job. our concern is that there are vacancies occurring. training is not occurring to replace those people. i'm starting to hear the folks are concerned that they are letting it peter out to they can have an excuse to contract out. that concerns me. as someone who has to fly a lot, most recently, there was an 8 seater coming out. there is a volcanic ash. we were circling multiple times.
6:54 pm
the fog was so thick. the stations were doing what they were doing. the rich getting as the right information. we were concerned about fuel. we did end up cutting through the fog visually based on the recommendations. the person that was with me from washington, d.c. have never been on a small plane. the service centers are critical. the people that run those, we greatly appreciate. i do not want to discuss what goes on on the lower 48. alaska has done a great job. we have the capacity to train these folks in alaska. the concern is that there are none of doing the vacancies with the rumor mill. i want to make it very clear.
6:55 pm
we are not interested [unintelligible] made you can give me an update on what the vacancy levels are and what the plans for training our. those are critical people for their can -- air conditions in alaska. it reassures me the quality people we have working here. it would be good. >> you have a very high quality team up there. it is a unique environment. let me assure you that year of looking at this. we recently had a new federal ruling that allows us to do two things. we can continue with people that would otherwise be looking at retirement. if they like to say, and they may. it allows us to go back.
6:56 pm
we can bring into a jet. we will get back to your office to make sure we have the staffing levels that are required up there. i have no intention of making any change in that environment. i think i can assuage that here for you. >> we had to get waivers for oxygen. your deputy helped a great deal on that. we were two days away from people losing their capacity to have oxygen to live. we had to have waivers. i appreciate this. the one thing they did not grant was weaverwaivers for oxyn tanks for construction. we are now transporting 250,000 containers across the tundra in the winter. i do know it if that is safe. it is not a smoother ride.
6:57 pm
if you could look into that. i would really appreciate it. in a difference in people's lives overnight. -- it made a difference in people's lives overnight. let me follow up on a couple of quick things. when pilots are the ninth by their carrier not to fly because of [unintelligible] is there a record when that happens? do you know how many of those have ever occurred? they say you look too tired. the pilot says, i am too tired. is there a record or documentation that you can say they are doing it? >> it the records are being maintained, if they are being maintained by the carriers. i will tell you that i think a number of carriers have addressed this pretty aggressively.
6:58 pm
they have commuter letters pedip. the commit itself has led to some fatigue. they have a vehicle that they can take themselves off a flight. this is an industrial solution. it is different on different carriers. some carriers, the language allow them to take themselves off a flight. they are willing to make up a fight on another day when they are restive. >> and do nothing to interrupt you. do you do random reviews? and did not want to be critical. -- i do not want to be critical. what did they tell you and what use he can be two different things. do you have the authority to say i want to see last month of how many people said they cannot fly
6:59 pm
because of its cheek? but he -- because of fatigue? >> we have not requested that type of inspection. >> but you have legal capacity? >> and nubbly we do. let's ok. -- >> i do not believe we do. >> ok. >> it would ask how many people called in sick or could not fly due to fatigue, and very comfortable that the carriers would share that. >> i have gone well as my time pi -- past my time. [unintelligible]
7:00 pm
i think that is a good idea. take it one more step. >> thank you. >> thank you. let me say that we must acknowledge in the overall area how safe our aviation system is. we make that our highest priority. we will always do that. as we all know, flight 34 07 is weighing on our minds. we have learned a lot from the investigation. let me ask you. on the timetable, i understand that at the end of january is when you are looking at these studies and the debt. -- data.
7:01 pm
let me ask you. we sent you a letter. we signed it along with other members of this committee. . . >> i really cannot have a good
7:02 pm
and direct answer to how to make this faster. i can assure you that if there are gaps, we are going to close them as quickly as we can. >> the to not have emergency authority if you see something that cannot be addressed quickly, if you see the screw on a cap being not correct, as you have done emergency action? is that a possibility? people are really concerned about the fatigue issue. >> part of our call to action that we reviewed with the carrier's is a risk mitigation. fatigue and risk mitigation procedures, and the carriers have been very quick to comply. several of the unions to a very progressive action.
7:03 pm
the air line pilots association editorial, and when i said that, we must remember that every day, 20,000 pilots go to work. able to a great job. if they are professionals. we are -- they are great professionals. we are trying to find the few that are not. >> will you preserve the capability if you see something that can be done on a more expedited basis while you are in this rulemaking not to overreact if you do not see fit to act? will you hold open the possibility that if you see something that can be done more quickly that you could do an emergency if you decided it was warranted? >> yes. if the date that we have
7:04 pm
indicates a gaping hole, i would absolutely act. i appreciate the letter you have written. it is difficult to convey but there is nobody pushing this any harder than i am internally. i have been at this a long time. this is something near and dear to me. we have an area where we ask people to respond and 80 out of 98 responders -- carriers responded. we now have asap programs and other voluntary programs -- >> that is positive. >> very positive. those that did not are usually too small to adapt. >> let me say in closing that i am very concerned. we had an amendment in the stimulus bill to try to have some incentive for private investment into the next generation. he asked that question which i
7:05 pm
would have asked if he had not done so first. that is our highest priority. that is the next that for safety and preparing the capability to have robust airlines that we want as the economy gets better and people are able to travel. that is something that both of us consider very important. if we can go forward with some public and private partnerships and incentives, i will be certainly supportive of that. we will work with you on that. thank you. >> let me reiterate, next generation is a major priority. it enhances safety. there is no question about that. we have equipment issues and other issues. it is not acceptable to have
7:06 pm
2020 and date. we must move aggressively and quickly. next generation has to be a significant priority. we will have additional hearings on that subject. senator klobuchar. >> thank you. thank you for holding this hearing and for being here, mr. director. let me say that this is a priority for me. i would reiterate what senator hutchinson said, our transportation system is the safest in the world. we clearly cannot rest -- rest on our achievements. with the tragedy earlier this year with the flight 3047 which brought the safety of our airlines into the public eye. it was chilling to learn about the fatigue issues and some of the training issues for regional flights and the most chilling was the conversation that was recorded between the captain in the first officer when the first
7:07 pm
officer told the pilot he had never seen icing conditions. as a result of some of the hearings, i looked into these rules and was shocked to find out that the deicing rule has been pending for 12 years. i raised this issue earlier in a letter to secretary lahood and was pleased to work with him to move it out and get it out there for public comment. but that is 12 years. when you said 3000 pages for this new rule, even if you have this amount, it would be 250 pages per year over a 12 year period. we cannot let these will sit for 12 years. my first question is about the timing issue. will that be completed by 2010,
7:08 pm
the fatigue rules? >> by 2020? >> december 31 of this year? >> next year. >> yes, i can. i cannot conceive, of course i am the person that wanted it out by the end of this year, i now understand some of the complexities. i worked with it over time. one thing i want to say with the rule maker, -- with the rule making is, it does not mean the underlying issue of the rule has not been addressed. icing is a good one. we have an issue because of the time frame. we acted immediately and issued over 100 airworthiness directives to address this. this gathers all of this up into one place. safety itself was not left exposed. it was the fact that we were doing it with directives rather than a rule. the underlying safety issue was
7:09 pm
protected. >> that is very good. you would agree that you would like this in a row. >> capsulate. >> -- absolutely. >> the carrier had a rule about personal e-mail and looking at the computer but there was not a role in place for the general industry. the other issue that has emerged from that crash is the inadequacy of flight school. the captain was noted as being from a school that grooms pilots and as little as six months. -- in as little as six months. can they be trained in that short amount of time to fly 100 people? >> that is why we are making the suggestion that we are. i want people to appreciate that there has been some misunderstanding. i am not opposed to having better training.
7:10 pm
i was looking at better training before the issue was brought up. i am concerned about the elements of training. i am concerned that we are not giving people the elements they need to do the mission they are doing. if somebody is going to be a crop duster for commercial aviation, they need to learn things about low elevation flying. they should know that well. if you are going to carry passengers, that is irresponsibility. you have an obligation and we have an obligation to ensure you have been exposed to every potential think we can imagine and there will be the unknown that can happen, the flight into the hudson is a great example. i flew for 25 years and i hit birds. nobody ever thought you could in just enough birds to kill both engines. it happens. >> right. the training is key. the other thing is this idea of
7:11 pm
the regional airlines themselves as a farm team for the major carriers. i have asked this before. is this seen as a stepping stone for a job with a major carrier? i am wondering about how the safety is impacted when you have this type of farm system. the regional carriers understand their pilots are only working for a short time? what incentives to the regional carriers have to provide them with anything more than the bare minimum in training if there is so much revolving doors to win on and people leaving the regional carriers. how do we fix that? >> i am not here to defend the regional airline industry. there is a little bit of misunderstanding. i was in the private sector for 42 years. my exposure and the private sector is more fast than my public service.
7:12 pm
-- is more vast than my public service. there are a number of senior and well qualified pilots and regional airlines. they loved their jobs there. maybe they live in smaller towns. it is a career for them. it is a career for several people. >> some of the younger pilots did not stay as long. the you think the regional airlines are investing as much in their training after they start out with the airlines? did they have the same kind of training facilities is the major carriers? >> many of them do. i cannot speak for all of them. one of the things we asked is that we go and we did go to each facility in review with the head of training and every few debt -- and review that.
7:13 pm
we found areas of improvement. they were meeting minimum standards. most of the large carriers are holding meetings with their regional partners to ensure that they have the same level of commitment to training and safety forums. >> thank you. >> senator klobuchar, thank you very much. senator thune. >> thank you. i appreciate your continued focus on this subject. the legislation that the committee has been working on that will address many of these issues is under way. i think one of the questions i raised in the past had to do with the pilot's records and their availability to a prospective employer and those having to be voluntarily turned over as opposed to them having
7:14 pm
access to those records which i think is very important. i know the legislation addresses that issue. i want to focus on a couple things. in your testimony, you talk about the distinction between quantity and quality. i will not deny that there is not a difference. no matter how many hours of practice, i will not play in the nba. there's something to be said for having sufficient number of hours and this is one of the issues that i think has been focused on as part of our deliberations. how do you square that up when you have a dc9 that may be flying that has a 30 passengers andrj that has 50 passengers?
7:15 pm
the number of passengers that pilot is responsible for could be more than somebody flying a full-size jet, yet the number of hours required and the distinction made in terms of experience and what you allude to is quality versus quantity. i am interested in hearing you elaborate on that. it seems that the number of hours a pilot has has got to be a part of the equation in determining whether or not that pilot is equipped and qualified to fly some of these planes. >> it would not matter to me whether they have one passenger or 100. they should be as qualified as we can make them. in that case, everybody, whether a regional jet or eight 777, they would have to have an --
7:16 pm
a 777, they should be qualified. that person can have a commercial pilot's license. i became dependent on the fact that the traditional airline industry model from 30 years ago assured that the co-pilot would sit in that seat for a number of years. he or she would be exposed to icing. they would have high altitude. it would have meant to ring. they would learn their trade sitting in the right seat. -- they would have mean ntoring. there is no assurance that they achieved this experience. what i am suggesting is in terms of the number of hours, and advanced proposal for
7:17 pm
rulemaking, what i am proposing is a rule that says you need, if you are going to work for a 121 carrier and sit in the bright seat, you need to bring a set of credentials that are superior to what you will have to bring today. you will have to have had icing training. you would have to have operated in a multi-crew environment. you would see these things. to say that you only need a number of hours, and i am not sure what that number is, it could be 1000, i think that when we get past year, we need to take a look and we have taken -- and we have come a long way with technology. i think some of the elements required to holdatp need to be
7:18 pm
revisited -- hold 8a atp needs to be revisited. we need to have those we examined. >> i am suggesting that there is a point at which quantity does matter. when you have enough experience and hours operating some of these aircraft. i am not disputing the notion that quality and ability to fly in various environments is important but i think there is a point where that there is an assumption that the small planes did not need as much experience. i did not think that is the case. i wanted to focus a little bit on that. >> i agree with you on that. sometimes the smaller
7:19 pm
operations at difficult airports are very complex and require a high level of skill. >> the other issue of the one to mention -- the other issue i want to mention is the issue that came into play on flight 3047. both plates -- both pilots had to commute. the letter that we signed it to you trying to get the focus on the flight limits being changed. the faa had a proposal -- had a proposal that was pulled after being out there for some time. they have revisited after recent crashes. that is why the letter urged you to move forward. as you might imagine, the airlines are not very receptive to the idea that lowering flight
7:20 pm
times for crew because you are obviously going to have to hire more pilots which impacts scheduling and everything else. i am wondering if this issue of commuting before somebody gets on a plane to fly it and we did you calculate the limits, we talked a lot about this. i want to hear your thoughts and perspectives about how back to be addressed. that can be an issue and this particular incident where pilots came in that were sick, had long commutes, were sleeping wherever the crew is, but clearly that as to the amount of time they had been flying and had been awake. that has to affect their ability to be alert when they actually
7:21 pm
fly the plane. >> that is an issue that we have talked about several times. i am concerned. to simply come up with a prescriptive rule to identify pilot commuting is not much of a burden on the carrier. the pilot would have to leave home earlier in order to get some amount of time. i am presuming everybody is saying you have to be someplace in some sun. it is very difficult when we begin to think about what is going to be the amount and who commutes and who does not? i have been based in washington d.c. for much of my career. a number of pilots lived in annapolis. it is 55 miles to dulles airport. most of them did chips out of baltimore. -- did trips out of baltimore.
7:22 pm
if it was bad weather, i was looking at a couple of hours to get there. was i a commuter? i was here. this was my domicile. as opposed the number of ways somebody can show of fatigued, it said a key issue or is there is -- or is there a rule that says you have to be here 12 hours. we do not have any assurance that the 12 hours were could rest. where did not have a way to measure the quality of rest any more than we have a way to measure that i lived here and had a child at midnight and i took him to the emergency room and i was due out on a flight at 8:00. i have no business flying that flight. but i am not a commuter. the burden would be on the pilots, not the carriers. on the broader role, you mentioned some concern that the
7:23 pm
carriers could say this would cost more money. if it is uniform to everybody, it does not make any money. if the price of fuel goes up for all of them, it goes up for all of them. they will not like that but it is not an unfair burden. if you are not asking someone to carry a burden the others do not. i think in the interest of safety, it is a burden to bear. i am not overly concerned about additional pilot staffing coming from this. >> when you are living somewhere and to meeting, you may commute two hours to get to your airport to fly. i think there is a big difference between that and commuting from seattle to a flight departing from new york. that is a very long commute. fatigued come into play. >> that is one of those issues where professional responsibility -- i certainly would not.
7:24 pm
i would not think i could jump seat all night long and have any expectation that i could fly. >> thank you. i have a number of questions but we have a couple of other colleagues that wish to ask the second round. i have questions about pilot records. i want to ask them before we move on. i think that you said earlier that you felt the training was sufficient and that cockpit for that crash. i am trying to breed as much and learn as much about that crashed -- read as much and learn about as i can. 49 people lost their lives. as i have looked through this, a number of things caused
7:25 pm
significant questions about that cockpit. i did not know if it is an aberration or if it happens that this is the one airplane out several flights that because many things went wrong, this is the one that crashed. or, the question of the training as an example. you are a pilot and had flown a lot. the crew prior to that happening -- let me ask this a different way. the recent that the nose went down was because of ice and they had to pick up speed. the ice was causing more drag. that is why the stick pusher was
7:26 pm
reacting. neither of the people in that cockpit had in-flight training on the stick pusher. if you have been a passenger on that flight, which you feel there had been adequate training and that portion of the procedures with respect to that crew? >> i think this accident has shown us that the fact that they were exposed to the stick pusher which is the action of last result, the airplane has been -- had been in icing conditions. it had not been icing. >> it was icing but the boots were dealing with it. >> right. they had begun to slow the airplane down and put a drag devices out and failed to monitor the speed drop. when it dropped off, the stick shaker went off. for some reasons known only to them, they thought they could
7:27 pm
recover with partial power. the airplane went to the second phase and said if you are not going to lower the nose, i will. that is when the stick pusher took over. they have been exposed to that but now -- but not to the extent they should. >> would you suggest more training on that exposure? i am asking if there is a training issue? the answer seems to be yes. the question is, is there and experience issue? the person in the right seat said during the recording that she did not have understanding about ice. we know the hours of the left seat and right seat and the records, was there and experience issue in that cockpit? >> i think this investigation will point to that. the training issue you point out, why somebody can be trained and not do what they were trained to do is what befuddles
7:28 pm
most of us. >> is there a committing issue with respect to this flight? if you had been a passenger or a loved one had been and asking these questions, there was no evidence of them being in a bid after committing, is there an issue of fatigue? " commuting is what they did. the lack of professional planning on their part is what really troubles me. why would she do that? why would you think you could do that? why would you come home from vacation four hours before departing? >> a series of things can together in that cockpit that were troublesome to me as an observer after the fact. training, experience, pilot records, the ceo of the company indicated he had access to all of the -- if he had access, that
7:29 pm
pilot would not have been hired. training, experience, commuting, pilot records. those all raised flax for me. -- flags for me. is that a harbinger of things to come unless something changes? >> i think it was a very bad collection of defense. i think we have the wherewithal to bring forward to remove each of those. any accident is always a culmination of a series of things. if we remove any one of them, there would not have been an accident. >> i have said before and i always want to say, that pilot and co-pilot i am sure were wonderful human beings. i always feel a bit that talking about the two people in that cockpit that lost their lives. on the other hand, where do not have the choice but to talk about them. i also know, speaking of pilots
7:30 pm
, senator johanns pointed out that most of us here fly all the time. we know that there are many men and women that do a terrific job. they are professional, great people. i admire their skills. i do not want this to reflect on the profession. i do want to make sure that the things that we know, and i cited some of them, represent an urgency and the faa in terms of of response. when you were nominated, i expressed that i was pleased with that nomination. you have a wealth of experience. you also understand what i described previously about the labyrinth of government agencies. it is like walking through but cement. very difficult to get things
7:31 pm
done. yet you reflect and understand what we are saying that we want you to move aggressively. you have come to this job not wanting to be a caretaker. you want to be aggressive. we want to help you. i want to call on senator rockefeller. >> i wanted to comment. i agree with what senator dorgan is saying. i had been facing question but i think that has been answered -- i had a in icing question but i think that has been answered. you are proactive. you did not react. -- you do not react. this is one of the most difficult jobs and all of washington but also one of the most powerful. you have the kind of power that americans did not understand.
7:32 pm
i fly into west virginia. i am always concerned about icing. we have a lot of bad weather. what i want to say is what i said in the beginning. the nature of this committee has changed on all fronts and on all subjects. it used to be a go along type committee just to keep trains running and planes running. we are not that now. we are delving into many things and we have a crew of investigative lawyers the report to me. they can go anywhere they want and uncover any wrongdoing they want. they have subpoena power.
7:33 pm
the health insurance industry can tell you about that and so can the internet scam industry. that is what we do. we are fighting for people. this is not a statement to you. this is a statement to everybody. we care first and foremost about consumers. we understand that we are in the economic difficulties. every corporation that has a small jet or a big jet or a small propeller or big propeller, they are all under pressure. so is the general aviation industry. i talked to a man last night in texas who said their sales are down 70%. you can buy 8 $25 million plane for a $9 million. i understand that. but we cannot be influenced by that in respect to safety.
7:34 pm
i want that message to go out loud and clear. thank you i respect you and think you are doing a great job. you answer questions directly. you are proactive. thank you. >> mr. babbitt, let me ask about pilot records. the faa has made a part of the call to action the ability for potential employers to access all of the pilot records. >> yes sir. >> with cooperation? >> yes, sir. >> use of laptops, personal wireless communication devices in the cockpit during the operation of an airplane. my understanding is given what we experienced with the commercial airline overflying by an hour the city it was aiming for, the pilots indicated they
7:35 pm
were working on their laptops -- working on their laptops on piloting scheduling. we have introduced legislation to say that personal use of wireless communication devices like laptop computers by pilots operating commercial aircraft would be banned. i understand there are wireless devices that can be used in the operation of an aircraft that is part of the operation. personal use, i mean, do you support that? >> yes, sir. >> i was surprised to learn that many commercial airline company's prohibit this but faa regulations did not. i felt there should be a federal regulation to prohibit this. >> this may be an area where it was so obvious that you thought nobody would need guidance. anything that is distracting in the cockpit, my only thought is that i would not limit it.
7:36 pm
laptops can be useful. they have databases with pickup information. some have crew manuals. -- with pertinent information. a magazine, doing puzzles, anything is distracting. they should not be doing that. they have a function. anything that is distracting should be not allowed. we were not allowed to have newspapers in the cockpit, period. >> the equipment outage that caused massive delays across the country. can you give us a brief answer as to what caused that and how could we have confidence it cannot happen again? it is something similar happened one year ago. >> i am very familiar with this. from about 5:25 in the morning onward, i was aware. 8 router and a large network
7:37 pm
system was being replaced and los angeles. that router had been functioning improperly. when it was put on line, it had a second problem. there was a human error involved. the installation team had pressed a warning system. had it been put on but the warning system, it would have tripped itself off and we would have known instantly. if that did not happen. it was allowed to go on line and it put bad data in. it is important to faugh understand safety was never compromised. we lost the ability to have our system automated. the ability to process flight time information automatically. the system worked. it identified it had a problem. it gave us that warning. as a result of that, babbitt
7:38 pm
together an oversight team. i have asked omb the, representatives from the department of defense, and outside experts to look at the system. i want answers on two grounds. the short term, what happened? how did we allow this to happen? what have we done so that it never happens again? the second phase which is the longer face of this report is going to be taking a good look at the network architecture. we are building a complete new infrastructure on this. i want to make sure that we have state architecture that is redundant and would not allow this to happen. >> we are working with the faa,
7:39 pm
airforce and others on the issue of air space for unmanned aircraft. uas's are a significant part of a future in a range of areas. there is a 2010 target date working on this. it is important that we meet our deadlines. i want to make one final comment. and then i have to depart. i said to somebody here one week ago that we intend to monitor very carefully what is happening with respect to your rulemaking. mr. gilligan indicated that some of that had slipped.
7:40 pm
you talked about december. you said how difficult it is to do these things but you are committed and how much are difficult. just on the icing issue, after 19 years, we are really going to be pushy. we are doing that because we think it is essential that at long last, we get to the end stages of this. you have been here a very short time. you will not like things to be pushed but we have to push really hard. we want a good relationship with you where we push and you deliver. america's skies will be safer as a result. i am fairy pleased you became the faa administrator. -- i am very pleased you became the faa administrator.
7:41 pm
you have the capability to rally back but things into motion. we want to give you the tools to do it. we want you to meet deadlines. i thank you you very much. that is a significant priority of ours. >> i would be happy to do that. i have suggested to some of the staff that perhaps we could give you a quick tour and a timeline of some of the things we are doing. i think you will see a tremendous acceleration. the components are coming together. i appreciate some of the push that you give us. you should rest assured that some of that push is going on internally. i would invite you and be delighted to escort a group to show you live and in color what
7:42 pm
we are doing with next generation and what the potential is. i welcome back. thank you. >> mr. babbitt, thank you very much. senator, would you proceed? >> how shall -- how long shall i proceed? [applause] until you run out of breath. >> for 5 minutes. thank you for your attention to matters of air travel. i am informed that we have some of the people from the families of those who lost their lives on the flight to buffalo.
7:43 pm
while there is not a lot that we can do it for consolation to let them know that they and their presence and interest can help us. we can perhaps get to a place to make sure something like that does not happen again. we are certainly pleased to have mr. babbitt as the administrator. he has extensive experience and we have a chance to get to know one another. i am pleased at the action he has committed to taking. it is amazing when you think about it. the record that has been composed over the years in
7:44 pm
aviation in this country is astonishing. even one slip is one too many. we should never have that happen. runway safety and aircraft overruns' continue to be submitted -- significant problems. dod recently highlighted dangerous run with procedures at newark airport. these procedures were brought to the attention of the faa nearly two years ago by a new work air- traffic controllers that the faa is just now acting. why did it take the faa so long to act on safety concerns raised by a veteran air traffic controller? >> that is a very serious issue for us.
7:45 pm
since i have been the administrator, my chief counsel has created an office to completely revamp how we deal with the whistle-blowers. the most important point i want to make is when somebody raises a question and they have to blow a whistle to get the information to us, we have already had a breakdown. we have already had a slip in the system. there are safety things that we need to deal with. i want these handled differently. if something went wrong. we had a failure of communication, understanding, something went wrong. i want to change that. >> can we count on you to be willing to listen or make sure somebody is willing to be an unbiased listener when things come from those in the system? >> that is precisely what we are trying to create. >> there has been in the past
7:46 pm
some concern about security on the job after raising complaints. we do not want to hear about that and the courts that completely flies in the face of what we're trying to achieve. >> we need to have a system that allows people to point out safety flaws that will guide us to avoiding accidents and avoiding problems and conflicting runway issues. all of these are worthy of being addressed. we need a vehicle to allow that to be expressed. >> we certainly know that when things go the other way, when a mistake is learned about or a bad practice is threatening,
7:47 pm
that the faa should be quick to jump on it. they should certainly be equally as quick to respond to something that comes from an experienced flight controller. i want to talk for a moment about30 flight47 -- about flight 3047. the first officer of that flight had base pay about $20,000. she traveled from seattle on a red eye, carried a around concerns about her income, she lived at home with her parents. she may have already been ill at the time of the flight. she was afraid to lose the time that she would not be paid for.
7:48 pm
so much pressure. we talked about the pilot for the miracle on the hudson. his salary was cut 40% forcing him to take another job. given all the responsibilities of commercial pilots, should there be some review of the salary? it would be extremely unusual but they did not send any but the upna anysa -- in a nasa shuttle without knowing they are in good health. health includes reductions in stress and and ease of facility
7:49 pm
to get to work. i am not against people having to travel. the thing that should happen is that there should be sufficient time to get to work and have enough of the time lapse that they can have some recovery time before they get into the cockpit. the question of income should be reviewed. i would like for you or your department to do with or we will do with from our offices, get some indication of what salaries are and to see whether they are consistent with the responsibilities that go into manning the cockpit and an
7:50 pm
airliner. regional airliners operate half of all domestic departures. they move more that 160 million people per year. if we have one level of safety for both regional and major network carriers, should the pilots be trained in compensated the same? >> the data that you mentioned earlier on those compensation records is readily available. they report them to the department of transportation. that data is collected and we know they pay and it is broken down. the data is available to us. that is an area, compensation
7:51 pm
varies from carrier to carrier. while i certainly have concerns , i personally took a 20% pay cut and lost a significant portion of my pension plan. i am familiar with economic conditions cause stress. it still concerns me and should concern all of us that we will not continue to attract the best and brightest to this industry if we cannot compensate people. if they cannot be assured that they have a compensation plan. the obligation that i thought carriers had come that is not my role today. i am concerned that if the wages are not supportive to bring competitive people to these jobs, it will suffer.
7:52 pm
that is not something the faa can undertake but i think the commercial airline industry, and i would applaud lah secretary -- the plotlah s -- i would applaud the la secretarylahho t. >> we would enable the system to do that. impacthis group will get togethd it has been made very clear that he wants a series of things to do. he wants actionable items. >> we had an incident in this room some time ago when there was a takeover attempt at one airline by another.
7:53 pm
the acquiring airline was willing to pay $17 billion in cash to buy the other airline. the room was full of pilots from the inquiring airline. i asked the question to the ceo of the company if they had $17 billion available. why were they reducing pensions if they had that much money? the room broke out in applause. i was not looking for that. deal was broken. -- the deal was broken. we need the cooperation of the airlines in determining what compensation should be there to make sure the pilot is flying with a respectable salary that
7:54 pm
says the job is worth it. people love to fly, as you know. they will fly for almost any price. not just for and come back for love of job. -- not just for income but for the love of the job. the newark liberty air traffic control tower needed at least 35 controllers to move traffic safely. right now, there are only 26 certified air traffic controllers and eight trainees. they are supposed to have 35 trained. the have only 26 fully trained. i have been asking this question for the past five years. i would like this to be the last time we discussed this to.
7:55 pm
i trust you to make sure that if you do not have the resources to do this, when will the new work tower be fully staffed? when will laguardia be fully staffed? i look at those and ask why are they understaffed? maybe there can be technological reasons. lastly, the faa has taken major aerospace redesign in new jersey and new york -- airspace redesign. this has raised safety concerns.
7:56 pm
it increased -- it could increase the noise levels over many parts of new jersey. in 2007, the faa dismissed the noise problem. we cannot say in good conscience that the quality of life and issues affecting hundreds of thousands of people should be considered a redesign sacrifice. there is also concerned about living in the path of an airport. can we count on you to do that? and also, are you willing to hold a town hall meeting in new jersey to address the safety and
7:57 pm
noise concerns regarding aerospace design projects? >> yes, sir. i indicated in the past that i think one of the areas that we have not done well is when we talk about airspace redesign, people immediately focus on newly dotted lines that could not go over the area in which they live. we talk about their design, we have a couple of things. we have a new contract with the air traffic controllers association. we are making efforts to having much better dialogue and ability to communicate them. that ability -- we are collaborating with them. i want their participation. i welcome their participation. this is an environment in which they live. if they do this every day. -- they do this every day. you can have academic studies
7:58 pm
but having those paralleled with the practitioner gives you a better product. i think it is incumbent upon us to let people know that we are doing more than just changing the dotted lines. this aerospace redesign -- this airspace redesign is because it is not working well now. with this new technology, we can utilize the new techniques. >> we look forward to that. i am going to close this hearing. once again, i convey our condolences to those who lost loved ones on the flight to buffalo. i address this to the people here to make sure that we learn
7:59 pm
from mistakes and how terrible of mistake that was. how terrible an error in judgment that was. the person in the cockpit was obviously unable to assist in that emergency. with that, i close this hearing. thank you, mr. babbitt, for being here. c-span2 c-span c-span3 c-span2 y

96 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on