British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) announced (08-Nov-2010) the key message from its conference over the weekend was that if pilots want every flight to be a safe flight then the union needs to act now.
- Draft charter: The conference discussed a draft charter (or creed) that seeks to spell out the key commitments that a pilot makes;
- CAA Independence: The conference heard from UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) CEO Andrew Haines. Mr Haines stated CAA’s first responsibility is the safety of the travelling public and his aim is not "to be liked" by any of the key players in the industry, but to be well regarded for the CAA’s independence. He said he wanted challenging discussions borne out by facts and good research. He put human factors high on his list for action arguing that without action on causal effect the doubling of aircraft movements in Europe over the next 15 years would mean a doubling of accidents as there was little room for engineering or manufacturing safety improvements;
- Fatigue: The conference also heard from Philip Von Schoppenthou of the European Cockpit Association, who has been trying to keep EASA’s rulemaking group focussed on sticking to the science when their proposed rules are published at the end of Dec-2010. Mr Von Schoppenthou spelled out the huge amount of lobbying being done by the industry much of which seems predicated on "we have had no serious crashes therefore Sub Part Q is working". The EU’s politicians seem to be looking for a quick deal. This will be a crucial area and one upon which the conference pledged to campaign;
- Security: The conference also adopted an emergency motion challenging the continuing exclusion of BALPA from top-level meetings on security developments. The conference agreed to look at how BALPA can highlight this with the public and whether an approach similar to its successful police sky marshal campaign "No Protocol, No Fly" might be mounted. [more]