The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crash in Ethiopia took the lives of over 150 people, including Mucaad Hussein of St. Cloud, Minnesota

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) questioned transportation and aviation government officials about federal oversight of commercial aviation at yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee hearing, “The State of Airline Safety: Federal Oversight of Commercial Aviation.” Two tragic airplane crashes of a Boeing 737 Max aircraft flown by Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air took the lives of over 300 people, including Mucaad Hussein, a resident of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Klobuchar questioned the witnesses about making needed improvements to the U.S. airspace and ensuring that the aircraft that the U.S. manufactures meet the highest benchmarks for safety. Witnesses at the hearing included Robert Sumwalt, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB); Calvin Scovel, Inspector General of the Department of Transportation (DOT); and Daniel Elwell, Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“The tragic airplane crashes included a beloved community member from St. Cloud, Minnesota — Mucaad Hussein. I know his family is grief-stricken,” Klobuchar said.Following these crashes, we must figure out our safety approval process and get it right so we can prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to improve safety in the aviation industry and has long supported rural aviation. Earlier this month, Klobuchar and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reintroduced the Safe Skies Act, which would ensure that America’s cargo plane pilots have the same rest requirements as passenger pilots.

In October, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 was signed into law, providing needed certainty for the aviation industry while enhancing consumer protections and passenger safety. A key amendment to the legislation was included by Klobuchar to provide a consistent level of consumer protections regardless of where tickets are purchased. In 2012, Senator Klobuchar included language in the FAA reauthorization prioritizing aviation related construction projects in cold-weather states to accommodate their limited construction season.

Broadcast-quality footage of the Klobuchar’s questioning is available here.