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08 December 2009

Airline Safety Survey Results

Last week, we put out a survey along with the article about the European Union's recently updated list of banned airlines. The article also included a comparison between the EU preference of banning airlines to the FAA preference of evaluating national civil aviation authorities. The survey in the article asked four questions, and 24 members of the audience responded.

The first three questions had as response choices Yes, No, Not Sure, and Other. The fourth question asked for a general response. The questions and their responses were as follows:

1. Do the EU and FAA Go Far Enough?

These responses had the most agreement, with 16 of the 23 respondents agreeing that they don't go far enough, two agreeing that they do, and five who were not sure.

2. Are International Safety Standards Too Low?
Responses to this question were quite consistent, with 14 of the 22 agreeing that the standards were too low, four disagreeing with this statement, and two who were not sure. Of the 14 who thought that standards were too low, 12 also thought that the EU and FAA didn't go far enough.

3. Are US and EU Standards Too Low?
There was a variety of opinions here, with 11 of the 24 respondents agreeing that US and EU standards were too low, six believing that they were not too low, and four who were not sure. In addition, one thought that the EU standards were adequate but that the US standards were too low, another who only stated that EU standards were adequate.

4. What Are Today's Biggest Safety Issues?

This question had the most interesting and varied responses. They have been included below with only slight editing for spelling and grammar:

- Management forced cutbacks.

- Cost cutting on maintenance.

- In my view, safety hinges on two main items: pilot training and aircraft frame and engine maintenance. I also list pilot fatigue as a critical factor in airline safety. Get-home-itis is another issue that is not addressed often enough. That is, many air incidents have occurred because the command pilot was too anxious to get either home or to the next airport, often after lengthy delays.

- Hiring of security personnel is at too low a level of security, as is the out-of-public-view luggage inspection area. Once, fairly recently, upon arrival at a conference, I found a piece of someone else's junk jewelry at the bottom of my broken suitcase. While luggage inspection may not be on everyone's list of safety issues, I see it as emblematic of an airline's attention to detail. Which is crucial.

- FAA is too slow to issue EASA originated ADs (airworthiness directives) for Airbus airplanes. As always, economic pressures on both the airlines and authorities to endlessly cut personnel.

- Not enough consistency throughout the airport system (security and maintenance)

- Shortcuts on maintenance spending.

- Maintenance, crew training, and crew hours.

- The guys who work on the planes and the standards they have to uphold, in additional to pilot training and standards are the most important in my opinion.

- Boeing not inspecting planes before delivery.

- Security and too many flights with two engined jets. People feel safer with a four engined plane, especially on long haul flights.

- Extreme weather-due to climate chance.

- Air rage in flight

- Engine maintenance

Photo: gregoryjameswalsh

1 comment:

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