Comments a 'disservice' to Aviation Sector
12 May 2006
Comments a “disservice” to Aviation Sector and miss the mark
The Chief Executive of the Aviation Industry Association Irene King slammed comments reportedly made at the Transport Select Committee by one MP that CAA’s enforcement regime should “send chills down the spine of everyone who gets on a plane”.
“Such comments are demonstrably silly, a huge disservice to New Zealand’s aviation sector and a distraction from the real issues that warrant attention.
“New Zealand’s safety record for scheduled airline operations which convey the great majority of passengers is way up there with the best in the world” said Ms King. “That safety record is a tribute to the sophisticated safety management systems that airlines have implemented.”
Even in the General Aviation sector, there has been a notable improvement with a 30% reduction in accidents over the past five years.
“This reflects positive changes in organisational culture and attitudes to risk taking in the GA sector” said Ms King. “It reflects the benefits of CAA having started to work in partnership through the AIRCARE program with the aviation industry and with ACC to drive this change.”
Ms King said that AIA supported CAA’s goal of shifting to a more “risk-based” surveillance system as advocated by the Auditor General. AIA is providing input to the design of the new system with the aim of it creating a new international benchmark of excellence.
However, the strong focus of the Auditor General and the Select Committee on surveillance and audit runs the risk of missing the mark.
“At the end of the day, surveillance is about detecting failure whereas the modern approach to safety is much more about ensuring success.
“The main message that the Select Committee should be giving to the CAA Board is to pay more attention to their primary statutory responsibility which is ‘promotion of safety’.
“The Board should ensure the Director of Civil Aviation has the resources to achieve this shift in focus to the top of the cliff. The Board needs to understand that the outdated and failed concept of “the regulated” and “the regulator” actually contributes to accidents rather than reduces them.
“The lessons learned by the airlines are there to be applied throughout GA. They are, that good safety management systems; good skill sets; good training; good organisational culture; and deployment of new safety technologies equals low risk and high standards of safety.
“That process has started and the benefits are already evident. But more investment, a greater sense of urgency plus a much more modern outlook from the Board of CAA to what drives safety in aviation is needed. Otherwise, avoidable accidents, deaths and injury will continue to occur.”
A partnership approach to improving aviation safety
Established in 2003 following industry concerns in 2001 of rising accident rates in the “general” aviation sector (ie non-airline)
Formal partnership between industry, CAA and ACC – believed to be “a first” in the world
Aim is to reduce accident rate and prevent injury in GA sector
Approach reflects 2001 detailed analysis of causative factors
Has five elements: Education; Reinforcement; Regulatory; Technology; Assessment
Education via development of a series of DVD’s with a copy being provided to every holder of an “aviation document” (eg pilot licence)
First three DVD’s deal with risk management, decision making, and organisational factors
Well known weather presenter and private pilot Jim Hickey fronts the DVD’s
Program addresses on the ground injury (such as hearing impairment and back injuries which are prevalent in the sector) as well as prevention of aircraft accidents
2006 will see roll out of nation-wide seminars and formal assessment via the national qualifications framework
Funding is via the AIRCARE Charitable Trust which receives grants from industry, CAA, ACC, and sponsors.
In view of success to date, CAA and ACC being asked to increase funding to accelerate accident and injury reduction