January 28, 2015
US FAA sets new Air Safety Rule
Six years after the fatal crash of a regional turboprop plane operated by Colgan Air near Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 on board and one man on the ground, the USFAA have now begun to implement new safety rules that are the last airline safety enhancements mandated by Congress in 2010 in response to the Colgan crash. The FAA is imposing the latest safety techniques on everything from pilot training to data analysis in one all-encompassing program rather than through piecemeal mandates. Carriers have been given three years from 8th January to implement these rules. Under the new rules, airlines will have to develop an improved safety culture which will encourage employees to report hazards as well as studying operational data to try and identify safety issues or anomalies that may raise safety concerns. The US Transportation Secretary, Antony Foxx, is quoted as saying, “Call it predictive safety management.”
These new regulations, which apply solely to US carriers, are expected to cost them in the region of US$135m over the next decade, however with the intention of reducing airline fatalities by 50% from 2010, the savings to airlines in the long run are expected to run to between US$105 and US$242m over the same 10 year period. The timing of these new rules could not be better after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 last March with 239 passengers and crew on board, and the crash last month of Indonesia’s AirAsia flight QZ8501 near Borneo killing all 162 on board.
The FAA identified 123 air accidents between 2001 and 2010 that might have been preventable if these new measures had been in place, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. He also indicated that 96 percent of those affected by the rule currently gather and share data. Nick Calio, Chief Executive of Airlines for America, made it clear that airlines are fierce competitors “except on safety. This is the next step in an ongoing process to find an ever better level of safety.”