Aviation Safety Threatened by Poor Regulatory CultureBy Prne, Gaea News Network
Thursday, April 16, 2009
HOOFDDORP, The Netherlands - Despite numerous warnings from engineers that aviation safety is being compromised by declining standards, regulators have always maintained that everything is under control, until now.
The Civil Aviation Authority’s Director of European and International Strategy has apparently suggested that safety levels in the USA are now better than in Europe. Yet, as recently as only January 2006 his boss was dismissing safety concerns by proudly informing the Government Transport Select Committee that “the United Kingdom has a safety record second to none within Europe and twice as good as the United States.”
This dramatic turnaround in fortunes is not surprising to some. With aviation standards dropping faster than Bank share prices, commercial aviation is currently witnessing the same “do nothing” response from aviation regulators as we have already seen from the financial sector regulator. Government support for “self regulation” or “light touch regulation” needs to cease immediately because just like the banking sector, the aviation industry is just not responsible enough to regulate itself.
There are parallels to be drawn from the recent revelations about the “light touch” regulatory approach and a lack of focus from the FSA. The FSA are now admitting that they made mistakes particularly by not assessing the risk related to the business model as a whole. This same flawed approach is still in use within aviation due to the regulator being completely pre-occupied about procedures being in place whilst ignoring the real time situation being faced by aviation safety professionals.
Commercial greed has to a large extent driven standards down as airlines claim it’s become ever more difficult to operate at a profit. However, regulators continue to turn a blind eye to industry cutting right back to the bone on maintenance and other services whilst remaining silent about ticket prices being sold for as little as GBP1.
It will be interesting to observe if aviation can stop the downward trend before disaster comparable with the current economic situation takes a hold.
The financial sector may eventually recover those lost billions of pounds incurred due to its own stupidity but how will airlines replace lost lives due to an ever increasing number of accidents?
Source: Aircraft Engineers International
Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers (1981), alae at alae.org, Tel: +44-1276-474888
Tags: Aircraft Engineers International, Hoofddorp, Lost, Netherlands