Aviation safety talks must be more open - Iata | Fin24
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Aviation safety talks must be more open - Iata

Apr 15 2015 18:42
Carin Smith

Los Angeles - The aviation industry needs to consider whether and how to introduce a new sense of openness in its safety dialogue that corresponds to the changed environment in which it operates, Tony Tyler, CEO of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said on Wednesday.

Although the past 13 months have been a very difficult time for aviation safety, there is no question that flying is safe and getting safer, he emphasised.

"In 2014 there were 12 fatal accidents. And we have had two so far in 2015. Each and every one of them is a tragedy. Each re-dedicates us to further improving. And we learn important lessons," he said at the Iata Ops Conference in Los Angeles.

"But it is important to remember that over this same period, approximately 38 million flights reached their destinations safely."

The Iata Ops Conference is the organisation's main vehicle to interact with the aviation industry on all issues related to safety, operations and infrastructure.

To prove his point that flying is safe he said last year the global jet accident rate measured in hull losses per one million flights was 0.23, the equivalent of one major accident for every 4.4 million flights.

This was the lowest rate in history and a 60% reduction compared to the five-year rate of one major accident for every 1.7 million flights.

Random disasters
"Despite the improving safety trend, we have also been confronted by a sequence of what seem like random disasters that have raised questions," he said.

Three in particular have grabbed the global attention of the media and regulators.

"And that is understandable. Aircraft operating in open civilian airspace under radar control are not supposed to disappear, nor be shot down by missiles. And the first priority of all flight crew is the safety of those on board. Each of these assumptions has been upended," said Tyler.

"We as an industry are moving forward to identify and address what has come to light as a result of the recent tragedies."

In response to the disappearance and loss of MH370, the aviation industry has welcomed the proposal by the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) to move towards the adoption of a performance-based standard for global tracking of commercial aircraft, supported by multinational operational assessments to evaluate impact and guide implementation.
Following the shooting down of MH17, governments and industry joined together to find ways to reduce the risk of over-flying conflict zones. This includes better sharing of critical information about security risks to civil aviation.

"And we are calling on governments to find an international mechanism to regulate the design, manufacture and deployment of weapons with anti-aircraft capabilities," said Tyler.

Based on revelations in the Germanwings tragedy, some airlines and some regulators have implemented requirements for having two persons in the cockpit at all times.

"It well may turn out that some or all of these initiatives will be superseded by other measures, arrived at via a thorough, well-researched, collaborative process, based on global standards and best practices," said Tyler.

"That has been the industry’s modus operandi for decades and it has helped make aviation the safest form of long-distance travel the world has ever known."

Change not new
Change is nothing new for aviation and it has always adapted, whether because of new and more capable technology, regulatory changes or new lessons learned, according to Tyler.

"In fact, we are already making a transition of another type - to expand how we track and identify potential risks to reduce the odds of a future accident," he said.
Future safety gains will come increasingly from analysing data from all flights. That is what is behind the Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) programme, a comprehensive safety data warehouse.

"We also know that runway events, loss of control in-flight and controlled flight into terrain are our three largest safety challenges. And while we have made significant progress in reducing the frequency of these events, we have more work to do. It’s clear that we can’t rely on a silver bullet solution," said Tyler.

"Reductions will come through a combination of efforts, including but not limited to more effective recruiting and training of flight crews and improved aviation infrastructure, both of which are part of our Six Point Safety Strategy."

iata  |  aviation  |  industrial  |  airlines


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