Cablegate: Uk Views On Us Icao Safety Paper
DE RUEHLO #2943/01 2130802
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010802Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4710
INFO RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0044
RUEWMFA/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS LONDON 002943
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ICAO UK
SUBJECT: UK VIEWS ON US ICAO SAFETY PAPER
REF: STATE 77572
1. Post received the following comments in response to ref cable,
from Adrian Sayce at the UK Mission in Montreal, via Glenn Cronin of
the UK Dept for Transport:
Agenda Item 13 Vision for the future of USOAP.
This WP proposes the application of a system safety approach to the
future USOAP. This concept is not new and was the reason that the
current USOAP was expanded in 2004 to apply 'a comprehensive systems
approach'. The systems part of this was to apply a risk assessment
methodology - or so the Commission was told - but this does not seem
to have happened. The idea was that auditors would spend more time
assessing the data before an audit and would then audit all 16
Annexes using a targeted approach. To my knowledge this has not
In view of this, I strongly support the US WP. The only problem is
getting some idea how ICAO would go about accomplishing the safety
risk analysis. At the moment the Secretariat has established an
Audit Results Review Board which is supposed to serve as a link
between USOAP, USAP and the Unified Strategy Programme (USP). The
ARRB is a new concept that has not been described in detail to the
Commission. It is supposed to review USOAP data and provide an
early warning of problems. This is nice in theory and will sound
good at the Assembly, but how it will work in practice will be
interesting to see.
In summary, I support this WP.
Agenda Item 23 Electronic sharing of AIP.
I support this WP. It is good that ICAO is doing at least something
to help the environment! However, I believe the WP does not
emphasize the safety benefits from this.
This subject has become very controversial as ICAO's role in all
this has been questioned by Eurocontrol and FAA, as well as data
originators, processors, publishers, regulators, system designers,
service providers and end users. There was a Eurocontrol AIS
Congress in 2006 which ruffled ICAO feathers. (Note AIS is the
Aeronautical Information Service, as detailed in Annex 15 and AIPs
are the most important Aeronautical Information Publications
provided by States under AIS). This WP may simply be used as part
of a wider discussion on the future of AIS.
Agenda Item 25 ICAO Safety Evaluations/Audits of International Air
I believe that this presents a rather narrow view of the role of
ICAO in evaluating/auditing a State. We have known that there are
States where the national authority is poor but national operators
are excellent. Although we can probably assume that there is some
correlation between a State having appropriate oversight capability
and operators being safe (this is the ICAO position), the strength
of this correlation is open to question. Often national operators
have working-relations with operators in other States and this can
improve their level of safety (for example KLM and Kenya Airways,
but this may not be the best example!).
I do not believe there is a very strong correlation. For this
reason, ICAO audits have included some assessment of a state's
international air operators (during the UK Audit both easyJet and
Air 2000 were visited). Also, ICAO is supposed to be working more
closely with IATA so that combined USOAP and IOSA results can give a
better picture of a State's level of oversight. I also believe the
US position is slightly flawed because ICAO's objective to 'meet the
needs of the peoples of the world for safe, regular, efficient and
economical air transport'. This implies that as airlines provide
the service to 'the peoples of the world', ICAO must try to ensure
the operations are safe either directly or indirectly through their
In spite of all this, I understand the US is trying to keep USOAP
focused and this is a good thing to aim for. But some flexibility
must be allowed. If a State has an excellent airline, this may be
because the airline has acted responsibly and does not need to be
spoon-fed by a State regulator. We could talk around the need for
regulation and the value of self-regulation for a long time.
Agenda Item 28 Analyzing Precursors of Accidents.
It is hard to disagree with most of this. It is very ambitious and
many of the subjects have been seen before. I agree with the
Actions by the Assembly.
My only reservation is that Annex 13 should really be examined to
firm up the reporting requirements for Serious Incidents. At the
moment, para. 7.7 states 'If a State conducts an investigation into
an incident' it shall send a report to ICAO 'as soon as
practicable'. This doesn't seem worth the paper it is written on.
Even the new USOAP reports from States for Annex 13 will not reveal
Perhaps we need another WP that highlights the weakness in Annex 13.
I was once told that only about 5% of world reportable aviation
accidents are produced as a Final Report. Needless to say, the UK
does a terrific job. As Peter Hunt is producing a UK Information
Paper on the UK Airprox scheme, perhaps the CAA should do the same
for its MOR Scheme.
Agenda Item 31 - Transforming today's ATS to meet tomorrow's
This seems more of an Info Paper. Concerning the Action by the
Assembly, para. 5.1 a), this seems to be asking the Assembly to
promote the US systems. I am not sure this is what the Assembly
should be asked to do. Perhaps it should instruct ICAO Council to
examine such systems and recommend to States what they must do to
harmonize with them.
As for 5.1 b), I am a bit concerned about reference to 'development
and acceleration of standards for required future systems'. I would
hope that ICAO will develop performance-based standards, or detailed
specifications outside the Annexes