Airline safety got a major boost as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), along with three governmental aviation safety organizations including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the first step to create a global information exchange to improve aviation safety.
IATA, together with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the FAA, and the Commission of the European Union (EU), has signed a Declaration of Intent to exchange safety data. The signing took place during the ICAO High-Level Safety Conference in Montreal.
“Today’s milestone agreement marks the first time the global aviation community has come together to work on a global safety information exchange” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO. “Data must drive our actions so that we can focus our joint efforts on reducing the greatest risks. Working together with governments using global standards, safety has improved tremendously. In 1945, there were 9 million passengers and 247 fatalities. In 2009, 2.3 billion people flew with 685 fatalities. Every fatality is a human tragedy and reminds us that we must do better. Today’s agreement is one more important step to make a safe industry even safer.”
Audit data will be a key element in the project. IATA, ICAO, the FAA and the EU conduct audit programs that collect complementary safety information. “We must understand safety trends, not just from the handful of accidents each year, but by bringing together and analyzing data from millions of safe flights” said Bisignani.“With this we can take more effective action to reduce risks and improve safety performance. There is no competition when it comes to safety. Cooperation is the way forward. We have a common goal of zero accidents and zero fatalities. The safety data from audits and oversight programs contains important parts of a whole picture. Agreeing to put this data together is a major step forward.”
The four organizations will now start work on a way to standardize safety audit information and ensure compliance with local privacy laws and policies. This is targeted to be completed within 12 to 18 months.
The 2009 global accident rate, measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jet aircraft, was 0.71, IATA reports. This is a significant improvement of the 0.81 rate recorded in 2008. Compared to 10 years ago, the accident rate has been cut 36 percent from the 1.11 rate recorded in 2000.