Schatz Calls For Public Roundtable On Improving Air Safety In Hawai‘i

Roundtable Would Bring Together Community, Industry Leaders, and Safety Experts; Last Year Was The Deadliest Year In Hawai‘i Aviation In Nearly Three Decades

WASHINGTON – Following a series of tragic aircraft crashes in Hawai‘i and recent whistleblower complaints, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) called on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to organize a roundtable discussion with community leaders, independent safety experts, and industry representatives on how to improve air safety in Hawai‘i.

“I ask that the NTSB convene a roundtable discussion on aviation safety in Hawai‘i. The NTSB is well positioned to convene a group of independent safety experts, industry representatives, and community groups to have a frank discussion on what more can be done to keep Hawai‘i residents and visitors safe,” Senator Schatz wrote in his letter to the NTSB Chairman. “I have no doubt that the Board can hold an effective conversation and yield ideas for necessary reforms.” 

The full text of the letter follows. For a PDF copy, click here.

Dear Chairman Sumwalt,

I write to request the support of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in improving air safety in Hawai‘i. On Saturday, February 22, two people died in a small plane crash northwest of Honolulu. The crash is the most recent in an increasing trend of deadly crashes in Hawai‘i. In December, seven people died when an air tour helicopter crashed on Kauai Island. In June, 11 people died when a skydiving plane crashed. In April, three more people lost their lives when a helicopter crashed in Kailua. Last year represented the deadliest year in Hawai‘i aviation in 28 years. When combined with recent whistleblower complaints against the Federal Aviation Administration, the incidents reveal a disturbing trend of ineffective oversight and insufficient safety regulations.

I ask that the NTSB convene a roundtable discussion on aviation safety in Hawai‘i. The NTSB is well positioned to convene a group of independent safety experts, industry representatives, and community groups to have a frank discussion on what more can be done to keep Hawai‘i residents and visitors safe. I further ask that the discussion include a range of views and be open to the public. The NTSB has adeptly managed similar past events and I have no doubt that the Board can hold an effective conversation and yield ideas for necessary reforms.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this issue and your continued work to advance safety principles.

Sincerely,

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