Aircraft Engineers Criticise Aviation Safety Regulators' Lack of IndependenceBy Aircraft Engineers International, PRNE
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
HOOFDDORP, The Netherlands, September 16, 2010 - AEI, the international body representing aircraft engineers, is becoming
increasingly concerned about the approach being taken by the world's leading
aviation regulators towards safety. Recent events in the United States and
on-going events in Australia and Europe have highlighted that regulators are
becoming far too close to those they regulate, and as a consequence are losing
Unfortunately, more evidence of safety lapses will be presented to
delegates during the 38th AEI Annual Conference to be held in Hamburg,
Germany from 22nd- 25th September 2010.
Fred Bruggeman, AEI's Secretary General said that "events in Australia
involving CASA, the Australian National Authority, approving foreign
maintenance bases to perform safety related maintenance on commercial
aircraft despite clear and overwhelming evidence of poor standards are about
to reverberate here in Europe."
Engineers at Australian airline Qantas have highlighted significant
safety violations and low standards of workmanship on Qantas aircraft being
maintained by maintenance facilities outside Australia. A request by the
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers union, ALAEA, to access the CASA audit
inspection reports on the foreign maintenance facilities led to a three year
legal battle as CASA refused to release the documents. Fortunately ALAEA won
the battle and so prevented CASA from wasting more public money in their
quest to hide the truth from the public.
"It is clearly maintenance to a price and not a standard," added Fred
Bruggeman, "yet it gets worse: The maintenance facilities involved are based
in Singapore and Hong Kong but have also been approved to maintain European
registered aircraft by EASA, the European regulator."
AEI has been warning for some time now that EASA is not only failing in
its obligation to protect the flying public but is failing to standardize
European Aviation regulation. In fact EASA is only fulfilling the prophecy
that they would turn out to be nothing more than a paper tiger.
To date, EASA has been unable or unwilling to tackle wayward European
National Authorities and remains completely ineffective when confronted with
stubborn national politics. In fact, EASA has now resorted to offering both
regulators and industry ways to wriggle out of their safety responsibilities
by proposing to introduce "alternative" acceptable means of compliance. This
is nothing more than offering airlines the opportunity to "self-regulate". An
apt analogy could be governments being permitted to outsource policing
responsibilities to criminals.
This and many other safety issues will be discussed during congress,
where the intention is to set out a road map for action involving all of
AEI's 40+ affiliates worldwide. Self-regulation is no success in any industry
to which it has been applied, with the recent devastating banking disaster
being the latest example in a long line of costly and tragic examples.
Government regulatory bodies are set up to protect the public by ensuring
standards remain above a minimum level. In aviation this has to a certain
extent been achieved. In the past regulators did just that; regulated, and
the outcome is a significant improvement in safety levels. Accidents are now
rare as a result.
The challenge facing delegates at this year's congress is how to reverse
the current downhill race to the bottom which is being commercially driven by
industry yet remains unopposed by regulators. If we are not careful all
safety gains made over the past 20 years will be quickly undone as lowest
common standards take a hold. The inevitable outcome will be an increase in
For further information, Aircraft Engineers International, +31-655-930-175 or sg at airengineers.org
Tags: Aircraft Engineers International, australia, Hoofddorp, Netherlands, September 16, The Netherlands, United Kingdom