MRO AMERICAS: Aviation industry relies on self reporting to promote safety

The US aviation industry is the safest it has ever been, but still more can be accomplished, according to Margaret Gilligan, a top safety official at the US Federal Aviation Administration at the opening of the Aviation Week’s MRO Americas conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We are at the safest point in aviation history because we have created a set of checks and balances that have really worked,” Gilligan said, noting that accident rate has been reduced by 80% over the past decade

The industry doesn’t rely on forensics – studying an accident after the fact – but rather takes a proactive approach by studying incidents as they occur via the FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) programme where airline employees voluntarily report safety issues or incidents, without fear of retaliation.

Some 108 operators, including 45 airlines participate in the programme. Gilligan emphasised that the industry needs to bring MRO onboard, perhaps by streamlining ASAP reporting requirements. Just before the start of the event, the initiative moved forward with two MRO providers who signed onto the voluntary reporting programme.

“The industry is the primary source of data,” Gilligan noted. The data points generated by these reports are used to help develop a picture of emerging trends. Gilligan said they tell that something happened, describe how it happened and helps aviation officials understand how it happened. “The voluntary reporting programmes are really important.”

Sandra Arnoult, US correspondent, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/
Phoenix, AZ, USA

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