Gallup Poll: Flying Public Remains Fairly Confident in Airline Safety, PilotsAired February 1, 2000 - 1:36 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: In Washington today, the head of the House subcommittee that funds the FAA is demanding the agency do something about so-called runway incursions. Those are crashes and near crashes that take place on increasingly crowded airport runways and taxi ramps. Republican Congressman Frank Wolf today played audiotapes of one such incident at the Providence, Rhode Island airport back on December 6. A US Airways jet was told by air traffic controllers to take off despite the presence of a United Airlines jet on the same runway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNITED 1448 PILOT: Ma'am, I'm trying to advise you we're on an active runway, United 1448.
CONTROLLER 1: 2P right is not an active runway, it's a taxi way when we're IFR or in the dark.
CONTROLLER 2: Stand clear of all runways until we figure this out.
CONTROLLER 1: Everybody stand by, please. Radio silence until I talk to you. Everybody stand by.
US Air 1020 hold your position please. I don't know where the United is. I'll figure it out in a minute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Wolf says runway incursions increased 54 percent between 1993 and '96, and have risen even more since then.
Some new Gallup polls show the flying public remains fairly confident in airline safety in general, and pilots in particular.
Editor in chief Frank Newport joins us now from the Gallup studios in Princeton, New Jersey with that -- Frank.
FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR IN CHIEF: Natalie, this is a story that strikes home to many Americans. Our data show that about 47 percent when we interviewed them say they've flown in the last year, and overall, 87 percent of Americans now have flown at some point in their lifetime. So we're a nation of flyers. We haven't polled, obviously, since the crash yesterday, but just a couple of months ago, we were out asking Americans about how they feel about airline safety. It's a mixed picture. Americans are neither overwhelmingly worried about it, nor are they overwhelmingly confident that the American airline industry is doing a good job on the issue.
Here's the tracking from 1996 up until very near the end of last year, 1999. Over on the left hand side, that's the percent of flyers who are very confident in airline safety. And as you can see, it's been down a little, just about a third. The big bulk of flyers are in the middle. They're somewhat confident. That's not a ringing endorsement to the airline industry. And you can see about 15 percent are not confident at all in 1996. This was after ValueJet. These numbers came after the EgyptAir last fall.
Another way of looking at it was: Are you more confident now in airline safety than you were, or are you less confident? And you can see, for flyers over there, it's 53 percent more. But, again, 41 percent, a substantial number of flyers, told us just a couple of months ago, they're less concerned -- less confident, I should say, in airline safety than they had been.
Now, for people who don't fly at all, they're very scared, as you can see here. Way over 50 percent, almost two-thirds say they are less confident in the airline industry.
Very specifically, finally, what is it that Americans have confidence in? Well, despite like Little Rock where it might have been pilots error, pilots and air traffic controllers are who Americans are most confident in. Americans are most worried about, in terms of safety, the manufacturers, the airlines and then the regional airlines, as you can see there.
We'll go out and find new data for you after this crash, but at this point, as I said, Lou and Natalie, a mixed picture.
Back to you in Atlanta.
ALLEN: Thanks, Frank.
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