$3 million grant launches aviation safety program

Posted: Friday, May 03, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A $3 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration is funding a new aviation safety project in Alaska.

The Medallion Foundation will focus on creation of a voluntary aviation industry program to establish high safety standards and lower accident rates, said foundation director Jerry Dennis. The FAA grant will be spent over three to five years.

Participating air carriers would achieve ''Medallion status'' after one-year compliance with Medallion's Five-Star standard. Fourteen air carriers that have already applied are Alaska Airlines, Arctic Transportation Services, Cape Smyth Air Service, Coastal Helicopters, Era Aviation, Flight Alaska, Frontier Flying Service, North Slope Borough Search & Rescue, Pacific Airways, Peninsula Airways, Tanana Air Service, Taquan Air Alaska, Warbelow's Air Ventures and Wings of Alaska Airlines.

Carriers will receive applicant status until they have completed a year's compliance. But three carriers -- Alaska, Era and PenAir -- already approach or exceed compliance, Dennis said.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will give preferred carrier status to Medallion Five Star certified carriers.

Ultimately, the goal is to reduce risk of death and injury by strict adherence to holding in-house safety meetings and completing simulator training geared to specific Alaska air strips, among other criteria.

Medallion status will have to be renewed annually.

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