The Nation

Oct 26, 2010 8:22 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

NTSB probes safety of airline partnerships

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal panel is examining whether regional airlines are being held to the same safety standards as their major carrier partners.

The National Transportation Safety Board is holding a two-day forum beginning Tuesday on "code sharing" agreements that allow major carriers to sell seats on flights operated by smaller carriers.

A regional airline crash that killed 50 people in western New York last year drew attention to what critics say are two levels of safety - a higher level at major carriers, a lower level at smaller carriers.

The "code sharing" agreements have proliferated since the 1990s. Regional airlines now account for half of domestic departures and a quarter of all passengers. They provide the only scheduled service to more than 400 communities.

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