IATA Promotes Aviation Safety

With more than 470 international organizations submitting data, and participation from over 90% of IATA member carriers, the Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) initiative aims to provide the aviation industry with a comprehensive airline operational database to facilitate a proactive approach in analyzing trends and managing risks. At the recent IATA (International Air Transport Association) OPS Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Director General and CEO Tony Tyler called on the aviation industry and governments to use data analysis in addressing issues related to aviation safety. Certainly, the ongoing search for Malaysian Airways Flight MH370 highlights the need for consistent vigilance in ensuring the safety of crews and passengers on every single commercial airplane that takes to the skies.

In quoting some statistics, Tyler revealed that in 2013 more than 29 million flights were carried out on Western-built jet aircraft. Twelve of those flights crashed, meaning that there was one accident for every 2.4 million flights, reflecting a 14.6 percent improvement on the industry’s five-year average. This shows that accidents are rare, but nonetheless the MH370 incident is a reminder that there should never be complacency with aircraft safety. While pointing out that no one should jump to conclusions before the investigation closes, there are two areas that need to be addressed, being tracking of aircraft in flight and accurate passenger records.

General consensus among observers is that with the technology of today, where surveillance of individuals has raised privacy concerns, it seems ludicrous that an entire aircraft could disappear, apparently without a trace. Noting that authorities cannot let another aircraft simply vanish”, Tyler stated that the IATA will be convening an expert task force, including participation from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to examine all available options for tracking commercial aircraft. The deadline for the report will be set for December 2014.

Acknowledging the high level of competition within the aviation industry, Tyler noted that irrespective of commercial issues, the industry needs to be “absolutely unified in its dedication to global standards and safety.”