This month we depart briefly from the scheduled Helideck Audit Analyses to focus on the continuous but critical balancing act between safety and cost.
We have included a number of references and articles for further reading in this area. Another interesting article from Korea examines the issue of CRM in the cockpit, while in Montreal, an important safety data-sharing accord has been reached, and a global safety summit was held in Vancouver.
Colin Weir, Managing Director
Flight Safety Pty Ltd
|Audit Finding Analyses - Accountable Management
Finding 4: Safety versus Profit - a Critical Balance
The fine line between managing safety and profit requires experience and training, but equally critical is an unrelenting high level of integrity with an element of courage.
Regulatory systems globally mandate the CEO/Accountable Manager as the pivotal, Key Personnel member responsible for these critical decision making processes, yet there is a distinct lack of available information defining minimum requirements, roles and responsibilities and importantly, personality profiling.
By logical deduction, if the Accountable Manager is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the operation, including safety and finance, then the critical decision-making processes vested in this individual will dictate a safe or unsafe and in turn, a successful or unsuccessful operation.
Further reading:How to benefit from a Safety Management System (SMS) or air safety versus cost by Oliver Meier
Airlines Fight Cost Of Safety Measure
The US airline industry and Congressional leaders are at odds over funding for plans to speed modernisation of the US air traffic control system and improve aviation safety.
The central issue: a proposal headed for a Senate vote as early as this
week requiring airlines to spend their own money to equip planes with
upgraded navigation systems, a cost carriers feel the government should
bear. The dispute over who pays is likely to delay the rollout of new
The Senate is scheduled to consider a $35 billion package that calls for
tougher rules covering a wide range of airline safety issues from pilot
hiring and training to mandatory scheduling changes to combat cockpit
Read on at The Wall Street Journal >>
Safety survey results suppressed to preserve profits?
In October 2007, American news media reported that a survey of pilots by the US government found that safety problems involving air carriers happen more frequently than previously known.
The reports say the space agency, NASA, conducted the survey, but did not publish the results over fears they could affect public confidence in air travel. Some lawmakers are accusing the government of trying to suppress the results because they might hurt airline profits -- a charge NASA firmly denies.
The reports say NASA spent three years developing the questionnaire and three years interviewing 24,000 pilots. But after completing the $8.5 million survey last year, the space agency allegedly refused to publish its results and asked everyone associated with the project to delete their files.
The survey reportedly uncovered numerous safety problems from near misses, runway interference, to engine failures. A NASA document obtained by Associated Press says, "The release of the data could affect public confidence and hurt the commercial welfare of air carriers."
Watch the news report on YouTube >>
Almost all regional pilots are seriously fatigued
An extensive survey of regional airline pilots, mostly in the USA but also in many other countries, has revealed that more than 96% regularly fly in a fatigued state.
US company Alertness and Performance Management (APM) presented the findings at the recent Flight Safety Foundation European Aviation Safety Seminar in Lisbon, held jointly with the European Regions Airline Association and Eurocontrol.
APM summarises the general findings, gleaned from the 1,359 responses, as follows: "The lifestyle of the regional airline pilot is characterised by low pay, long duty days, early morning departures, late night arrivals, short layovers/overnights, multiple take-offs and landings per duty period...these pilots are generally younger than their major airline counterparts [see pie chart], and have young, growing families."
The survey found that more than 28% of the regional airline pilots
reported they have another job, in addition to flying, to boost their
earnings. Some 41% commute from home to their base for the start of duty
periods, many by air.
Read the full article at Flight Global >>
World Class Aviation Safety Summit Lands in Vancouver
Three weeks after welcoming the world for the Olympic Games, one of the world's largest flight safety conferences landed in Vancouver on March 22, attracting more than 500 delegates to hear aviation safety experts from all over the world.
The CHC Safety and Quality Summit
is a non-profit event dedicated entirely to flight safety that attracts aviation companies ranging from international airlines to small helicopter operators. The 6th annual summit theme was Discipline in Aviation: Professionalism in Flight Operations and Maintenance
"The CHC Safety and Quality Summit started as an internal training event but our focus on safety resonates so well throughout this industry that others started asking to participate,
" said Greg Wyght, VP of Safety and Quality for CHC Helicopter. "Safety is not a competitive issue - we welcome everyone
Read more at PR-USA.net >>
Budget carrier cans 2100 flights
BUDGET airline Virgin Blue holds the dubious record of having the highest number of flight cancellations in Australia last year, official figures show.
More than 5700 scheduled domestic flights were cancelled last year, with Richard Branson's budget airline accounting for more than 2100.
But it was fellow budget carrier Tiger Airways that recorded the lowest number of punctual departures and arrivals.
The revelation comes after Tiger was forced to apologise for the cancellation of a Melbourne-bound flight that left more than 30 passengers stranded overnight at Launceston Airport last weekend.
Read more at The Herald Sun >>
Korean Honorifics - A CRM Issue
This blog article illustrates the importance of CRM from an aviation safety point of view.
The first part discusses the Korean language and is quite interesting in its own right, but the punchline comes near the end.
Korean Air had in the 1990s become one of the world's most dangerous airlines, with so many crashes that it was eventually excluded from its airline alliance.
The management of Korean Air at that time brought in an American team of consultants to analyze the problem and recommend a solution. While the Korean management had suggested more mandatory hours of flight simulator training for all pilots, the Americans advised them to introduce English as the official on-board language and ban the use of any Korean communication from the cockpit.
Korean Air went ahead with this solution and as a result the crashes ceased, the airline's reputation was restored and it became an alliance member again.
To find out, read the article in The Korea Times >>
Safety data-sharing accord reached at
The ICAO High-Level Safety Conference in Montreal was the site of a
"milestone agreement" among ICAO, FAA, the EC and IATA that the airline
trade group called "the first step to creating a global information
exchange to improve aviation safety."
The Declaration of Intent
will involve data collected through audit programs conducted by the four
bodies. "We must understand safety trends, not just from the handful of
accidents each year, but by bringing together and analyzing data from
millions of safe flights. With this we can take more effective action to
reduce risks and improve safety performance,"
IATA DG and CEO Giovanni
The four groups will be working on standardizing
safety audit information, along with compliance with local privacy laws,
for the next 12-18 months. ICAO said it would be charged with
"coordinating the integration of the safety information provided by the
international community as well as for the dissemination of safety
intelligence." It plans to convene a committee "to define and harmonize
safety metrics, associated data requirements and analysis processes."
group also will develop a way to make "relevant" safety information
available to the general public.
Source: ATW Daily News >>