Source: FRONTLINE Flying Cheap
FRONTLINE Flying Cheap
For more resources from this report go to FRONTLINE Flying Cheap.
In Feb 2009, Continental Flight 3407 crashed outside of Buffalo, N.Y., killing 50 people. The flight was operated by Colgan Air, a regional airline that flies routes under contract for US Airways, United and Continental. The crash and subsequent investigation revealed a little-known trend in the airline industry: Major airlines have outsourced more of their flights to obscure regional carriers.
In this video chapter from Flying Cheap, correspondent Miles O'Brien explores this trend and examines some of the many factors that may have contributed to the accident.
Flying Cheap Teacher's Guide (Document)
In February 2009, Continental Flight 3407 crashed outside of Buffalo, N.Y., killing 49 people onboard and one on the ground. Although 3407 was painted in the colors of Continental Connection, it was actually operated by Colgan Air, a regional airline that flies routes under contract for US Airways, United and Continental. The crash and subsequent investigation revealed a little-known trend in the airline industry: Major airlines have outsourced more and more of their flights to obscure regional carriers. Today, with regional airlines accounting for more than half of all scheduled domestic flights in the United States and responsible for the last six fatal commercial airline accidents, FRONTLINE producer Rick Young and correspondent Miles O'Brien investigate the safety issues associated with outsourcing flights.
Clay Foushee, a congressional investigator and former airline executive, calls the crash a watershed event. "It's become the symbol of everything that's wrong with the industry." Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation, seconds that: "There are some accidents that really make you step back and take a look at what's happening in the system. [Flight] 3407 forces us to look at issues like commuting, fatigue. It forces us to look at training. It forces us to look at fundamental regulatory relationships. It's a very important event."
The FRONTLINE investigation also examines how well the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency responsible for overseeing safety of the airline industry, has been doing its job. Documents and interviews obtained by FRONTLINE indicate the agency was aware of significant and repeated safety concerns at Colgan Air dating back more than a decade.
In this video excerpt from Flying Cheap consider the impact of major airlines outsourcing flights to low-cost regional carriers:
Video Segment Themes:
Classroom Discussion Questions:
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