8-Jul-2011 11:16 AM

Safety suffers in LCC boom: global transport body

International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), which represents some 779 unions across the global transport sector, 175 in the aviation sector, stated the rapid expansion of low-cost carriers has led to a fall in airline safety standards (The Telegraph, 07-Jul-2011). Gabriel Mocho, civil aviation secretary said that many airlines now "prioritise cost over safety" and called on authorities to address growing concern among its members. Mr Mocho’s comments follow the grounding of Tiger Airways Australia. While ITF’s biggest concerns are Asian carriers, Mr Mocho expressed concern that European carriers were taking advantage of labour laws to hire workers from abroad who were cheaper but not necessarily as well trained. The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) also expressed concern about broad safety trends in the aviation industry. UK-based Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers chairman Robert Always defended British LCCs but said outsourcing of labour among all airlines was the biggest threat to safe flying. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority rejected the claims, saying it “impose[s] stringent safety standards and regularly inspect all of Britain's airlines.”

International Transport Workers Federation: “There's been so much expansion in the low-cost sector, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, that there are worries that the regulation that is needed, and which traditionally applies to airlines, hasn't caught up. The regulatory authorities are going to have to look more widely than at just one airline. We believe that the reported decreases in safety and pilot training are a direct consequence of that low-cost model and that there is a price to pay for such low fares and deregulation – and it is safety." Gabriel Mocho, civil aviation secretary. Source: The Telegraph, 07-Jul-2011.

British Airline Pilots' Association: “Safety has been improving year on year for decades, but we've recently seen it plateau and even dip. While airlines are always looking at ways to reduce costs, flight safety must never be subject to commercial pressure.Sadly, as the professional association that represents British airline pilots, we increasingly have to fight the corner for flight safety." Spokesperson. Source: The Telegraph, 07-Jul-2011.

Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers: “Training and maintenance are now farmed off to third-party companies. It creates links between many different organisations and a loss of continuity that makes it impossible for an airline to see 100% what is going on." Robert Always, chairman. Source: Source: The Telegraph, 07-Jul-2011.

UK Civil Aviation Authority: “There is no evidence that standards on low-cost airlines are any lower, and therefore no reason why we need to pay them special attention. We have asked engineering unions to provide specific details and evidence to support their allegations and they are usually unable to do so. If details are supplied, we will investigate accordingly." Spokesperson. Source: The Telegraph, 07-Jul-2011.

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