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Regional Airline Association establishes safety council


A new Regional Airline Association Safety Council was approved by the association's board of directors yesterday, as part of its continuing reaction to the Colgan Flight 3407 which crashed on approach to Buffalo just over a year ago. The council is made up of safety representatives from the RAA's 32 member airlines and will be chaired by SkyWest Airlines Dave Faddis with American Eagle Captain Ric Wilson as vice chair.

The group is set to meet quarterly, although a joint session with the Air Transport Association’s Safety Council has been scheduled for the RAA convention in Milwaukee in May-2010.

"As with our Strategic Safety Initiative, the RAA Board’s unanimous approval of the RAA Safety Council further emphasizes that safety is the number one priority at the highest levels of the regional airline industry,” said RAA President Roger Cohen. “The group’s charter makes it crystal clear: to promote, enhance and support pro-active safety programs that continuously assure conformance to the highest accepted industry standards, and to assist member airlines in identifying and resolving new and emerging safety and security concerns.”

New safety data agreement

The international aviation industry, along with three governing bodies, have meanwhile joined to share safety data, signing a Declaration of Intent at ICAO’s High-Level Safety Conference in Montreal.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) was joined by ICAO, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Commission of the European Union (EU) in the worldwide safety initiative.

“Today’s milestone agreement marks the first time the global aviation community has come together to work on a global safety information exchange,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani. “Data must drive our actions so that we can focus our joint efforts on reducing the greatest risks. Working together with governments using global standards, safety has improved tremendously. In 1945, there were 9 million passengers and 247 fatalities. In 2009, 2.3 billion people flew with 685 fatalities. Today’s agreement is one more important step to make a safe industry even safer.”

Audit data will be a key element in the project.  IATA, ICAO, the FAA and the EU conduct audit programs that collect complementary safety information. “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,” said Bisignani. “There is no competition when it comes to safety. Cooperation is the way forward.  We have a common goal of zero accidents and zero fatalities. The safety data from audits and oversight programs contains important parts of a whole picture. Agreeing to put this data together is a major step forward.”

Over the next 12 to 18 months, the four organisations will start work on a way to standardise safety audit information and ensure compliance with local privacy laws and policies. The 2009 global accident rate, measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jet aircraft, was 0.71. This is a significant improvement of the 0.81 rate recorded in 2008. Compared to 10 years ago, the accident rate has been cut 36% from the 1.11 rate recorded in 2000.

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