WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Ninety seconds, that’s how long the Federal Aviation Administration says it takes for passengers and crew to evacuate an airplane safely, but not everyone is convinced.
On Friday, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., along with Capt. Sully Sullenberger held a press conference demanding the FAA rewrite its safety standards.
“My fear is someone’s going to get killed or severely injured,” Duckworth said. “They only put 60 people on an airplane, and they had no carry-on luggage and there was nobody over the age of 60 and no children on board.”
Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot who represents the Allied Pilots Association, called the safety standards “lazy.” He said this is about protecting lives when things don’t go well.
He and Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger, famous for the miracle on the Hudson, called the FAA’s current testing standard outdated.
“We need to know what it takes to get out of an airplane full of people and right now we just don’t,” he said.
Duckworth said she’s pushing the FAA to include more realistic rules in next year’s FAA Reauthorization Act.
In a statement, the FAA contends their current guidelines are ethical but is “reviewing the thousands of comments it received on whether current seat size and spacing affect passenger evacuation.”
The airline’s lobbying group said it is committed to working collaboratively to ensure aviation remains safe.
“Well that comment sounds comforting, it’s rubbish,” Tajer said, adding that he expects a fight ahead.
Duckworth said she expects her proposal to gain bipartisan support in next year’s Congress.