European Aviation Authorities Refuse to Protect Whistleblowers

By Aircraft Engineers International, PRNE
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

HAMBURG, Germany, October 7, 2010 - Experience has shown that often before an aircraft accident occurs, a
number of incidents and numerous other deficiencies have highlighted the
existence of safety hazards. It is therefore in both the public and the
aviation industry's best interests to gather better knowledge of these
occurrences in order to facilitate analysis and trend monitoring with the aim
of preventing the accident before it occurs. AEI are particularly concerned
about the situation in Europe where those who report safety violations are
all too often subject to severe consequences.

During AEI's 38th Annual Congress in Hamburg, one of Europe's leading
regulators refused to offer unequivocal support for those who do brave the
consequences and report. Unfortunately this sort of attitude is widespread
despite the European Commission introducing several directives designed to
promote the collection of safety related data whilst protecting the reporter.
AEI therefore urges all European regulators to revisit these directives and
remind themselves of their responsibilities.

EC Directives 216/2008 and 2003/42 not only require the protecting of the
reporter but actually make the reporting of unsafe activities mandatory as it
is clearly in the public interest to protect them from such activities.
Therefore both lawmakers and regulators must work together to ensure the
aviation community is free to highlight malpractice without having to fear
personal consequences.

To assist in this task AEI will set out a roadmap of actions on how to
safeguard aircraft maintenance in the future by prioritising the main areas
of risk, highlighting weak regulations and those ignored by both airlines and
regulators. Regulators must also place more distance between themselves and
the financial concerns of keeping an airline viable. Regulators are there to
regulate safety on the public's behalf and as such must ensure safety remains
paramount. Commercially viable but unsafe airlines are not an acceptable

Therefore pressure on our members to "shut up and be quiet" will no
longer be tolerated. AEI wishes to work in partnership with both regulators
and industry to maintain the highest levels of safety. Shooting of any
messenger is short sighted, not in the public interest and therefore doesn't
have a place in the 21st century. The European Transport Directorate may wish
to seek improvements in the protection of reporters within some of the
current regulations.

In addition AEI in accordance with current European freedom of
information regulations recently requested documents from the European
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) relating to the audit and approval of foreign
maintenance organisations. During Congress shocking video evidence of safety
violations at these EASA approved facilities was presented. The low cost
maintenance organisations concerned remain fully operational and EASA has not
responded to the freedom of information requests within the prescribed 15
working days. The lack of action from all involved regulatory authorities
means that the alleged safety violations may still be ongoing which
ultimately could costs lives. AEI considers this behaviour unacceptable and
urges both urgent intervention and the releasing of the requested documents.
Unfortunately this is not the first time EASA have refused to release
documents which may potentially highlight a lack of will to directly confront
safety violations.

The EASA mission statement is and I quote "to promote the highest common
standards of safety and environmental protection in civil aviation in Europe
and worldwide".

Delegates attending congress made it clear to AEI that they consider
it's time to deliver.

Safety Violation Video:

For more information contact AEI media: pr at or sg at, Tel: +31-655-930-175

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