Regional airlines such as Gulfstream account for half of all scheduled passenger flights in the U.S. That’s why it’s so disturbing to hear these airlines fail in so many aspects of basic aviation safety. For example, it was discovered Gulfstream airline installed automotive air conditioning parts not certified by the FAA for use in their planes. Think about that – the air conditioning parts used in a Ford Focus could be in a Gulfstream airplane right now trying to handle all the atmospheric and hydraulic pressures of a large, commercial plane. Truly scary.
In 2009 the FAA found that Gulfstream had violated multiple regulations and slapped them with a $1.3 million fine. This would be the largest fine against a regional airline. Using shoddy parts isn’t the only glaring issue. Gulfstream also failed to properly enter pilot flying hours from its manual, hard-copy logbooks into their computer system. As a result, crew members flew more hours than the FAA allowed, both on a daily and weekly basis.
So what does all this add up to? Seven of the last eight commercial aviation accidents involved regional airlines and 87 percent of all commercial airplane crashes featured a regional plane, according to the BBC. The issue of pilot fatigue is being addressed in Congress and I hope meaningful reforms are implemented. But they need to supplement any reform with some type of stiffer regulations and/or penalties on these regional airlines. Too many lives are being put at risk due to their carelessness.