NTSB Accepts Overwater Safety Equipment On Aircraft <


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NTSB Accepts Overwater Safety Equipment On Aircraft

By Eddy Metcalf

May 6, 2010 - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) supported a recommendation by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) for overwater safety equipment to be included on all commercial aircraft, regardless of route. 

The recommendation was made at this week's NTSB hearing on the probable cause for US Airways Flight 1549's emergency ditching on the Hudson River in 2009. The NTSB Safety Board praised the three flight attendants, represented by AFA-CWA, for their effective and timely evacuation despite the difficulties they encountered.

"We are pleased that the NTSB took notice of our call for overwater safety equipment on all aircraft," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President.


"It is crucial that flight attendants and passengers be provided all the resources possible to ensure a successful emergency evacuation and improve the likelihood of water survival. We now look to the Federal Aviation Administration to implement these recommendations in a timely manner."

Currently, federal guidelines state that only aircraft scheduled for extended overwater routes should be equipped with various flotation devices such as personal life vests and rafts. All other aircraft are required to only supply a basic level of safety equipment such as flotation seat cushions. Despite not being scheduled for overwater operations, US Airways flight 1549 was equipped with personal flotation devices and slide/rafts that helped to save the lives of 155 crew members and passengers.

Although the NTSB does not have regulatory authority, the Board's safety recommendations are well respected in the aviation industry. During the hearing, the NTSB Safety Board also recommended an additional AFA-CWA call for detailed passenger briefings on the correct life vest retrieval and donning procedures on all flights.

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill.  More than 50,000 flight attendants at 21 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO.

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