...FAA, Airlines Defend Record

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The FAA and airlines were critical of the report, noting that there hasn't been a major airliner crash in the U.S. in more than three years. "We changed the way we do business as the industry changed," FAA spokesman Greg Martin told The Associated Press. "This is the safest period in aviation history." And even though they're losing huge amounts of money, airlines say they will not cut corners on safety. "We have cut nothing that would compromise safety, nor will we," US Airways spokesman David Castelveter said. Inspector General Ken Mead agreed there's no need to hit the panic button. "The idea here is we all stay right on our toes," Mead said. "We don't want anyone taking inference that we're saying the system is unsafe. But having said that, we've definitely found areas where the FAA can improve and minimize risk further." Jack Evans, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, said airlines are vigilant on maintenance and safety, and FAA inspections "are secondary to the robust quality-assurance programs" employed by the carriers.