|US Airways pilot Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger speaks to reporters at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C. on Wednesday, March 3, 2010.|
"They were very inexperienced pilots," said Skiles, who wore a red ribbon to commemorate Flight 3407 passengers. "Everybody has the right and the expectation to have very experienced pilots in the cockpit. Unfortunately, that is not guaranteed and is not true in many cases today." Sullenberger said that Flight 3407 symbolizes today's problems in commercial aviation, which has "become extraordinarily competitive and cost sensitive." He said low-cost regional airlines, like the operator of Flight 3407, "compete to be the lowest bidders (and) face pressure to hire people with less experience," while busier flying days enhance the possibility of crew fatigue. "We're in the business of saving lives, not saving money," he said.
Sullenberger, 59, joined predecessor PSA in 1980. His last flight was from Fort Lauderdale to Charlotte. His first, he recalled Wednesday, was from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. 1549 Flight attendant Doreen Welsh, 59, who joined predecessor Allegheny Airlines in 1980, also recently retired. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. .