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How cost cutting may be putting flyers' lives in danger


Aviation driven by cost, not safety: aircraft engineers

Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) says last year’s AirAsia accident, in which 162 people were killed en route to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, has highlighted safety lessons “not being learned” by the aviation industry.

 

An investigation into the December 28 crash revealed that a crack in the soldering of an electronic component on an A320 rudder, as well as pilot errors in responding to the issue, were responsible for the tragedy.

 

Image Oscar Siagian/Getty

 

The carrier replied by saying it would “not leave any stone unturned to make sure the industry learns from this tragic incident”.

 

However, AEI said the accident could happen again if there wasn’t a change in “attitude and commitment from [airline] CEOs and regulators on a global level”.

 

“This avoidable accident regrettably highlights that the industry as a whole has learnt little from two previous tragic accidents,” it said in a recent statement.

 

“The investigations into the ‘Spanair’ and ‘Turkish Airlines’ accidents (2008, 2009) highlighted very similar causal factors.”

 

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AEI, which represents more than 40,000 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers in over 30 countries, added that pilots and engineers were placed under “increasing pressure to accept second best, in order to ensure aircraft meet unrealistic flight schedules”.

 

“The public must be made aware that aviation today is driven by cost. Cost, not safety, is paramount,” it stated.

 

“With training of pilots and engineers often the bare minimum, spares and manpower levels reduced to unacceptable levels, and increased workloads; the working life of these safety professionals has become centred on lowering costs.”

 

AEI recommends the following reforms:

 

- A genuine culture of safety before operational needs must be enforced from the very top.

- Aviation must respect and create a culture where the responsibilities of pilot and engineers licences can be properly exercised, free from reprisal.

- Doing it right the first time must become every engineer, pilot, regulator and managers mantra.

- Governments must invest in regulators in order to ensure effective oversight.

- Training at all levels within industry must be improved and increased.

 


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 9 December 2015


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