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Lawmakers dispute FAA officials' testimony

By Dan Caterinicchia Modified: April 9, 2008 at 12:44 am •  Published: April 9, 2008
WASHINGTON — Three House members Tuesday charged Federal Aviation Administration officials with presenting "misleading” testimony about airline maintenance.

"Your testimony conveyed inaccurate and misleading information about whether aviation safety inspectors and managers ... were ordered to conduct special meetings with all airlines, repair stations and other regulated entities to deliver and discuss” the FAA's Customer Service Initiative, according to a letter sent by Democrat Reps. James Oberstar, Jerry Costello and Peter DeFazio.

The lawmakers questioned inconsistencies about the FAA officials' testimony last week about how regulators would implement a 2004 customer service initiative.

The new rules
The new rules were to be delivered, discussed and documented with airlines and other regulated entities within 60 days of a February memorandum, but the FAA officials testified that the process could occur "during routine visits over the next year,” the letter states.

The letter is addressed to: Nicholas Sabatini, the FAA's associate administrator for aviation safety; James J. Ballough, director of FAA's Flight Standards Service; and Thomas Stuckey, then manager of the Flight Standards Division for the Southwest region, who has been reassigned since the Thursday hearing.

No decision made
A spokesman for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said no decision has been made on what further steps the committee will take. Spokesmen for the FAA and the Transportation Department were not immediately available to comment Tuesday afternoon.

The two FAA inspectors who exposed maintenance and inspection problems at Southwest Airlines were at the center of last week's hearing.

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