The global aviation industry has started 2024 with a number of serious aircraft accidents, including Japan Airlines flight 516’s collision with a Japanese Coast Guard Dash 8 on landing at Haneda Airport, Alaska Airlines flight 1282 losing a door plug mid-flight, and closer to home, the Cessna 208 collision with terrain short of the runway at Lizard Island that resulted in the aircraft coming to rest inverted.
These accidents, and others, have given regulators, manufacturers, operators, service providers and the travelling public pause for thought about the safety of air travel, with some real questions being asked about whether or not we are suffering a widespread deterioration in safety standards.
Could efforts to meet increasing passenger demand as it starts to exceed pre-COVID levels be straining the aviation system beyond acceptable levels of safety?
Fundamentally the safety standards expected of the industry have not changed, but we could be seeing the effects of a significant loss of experience through massive redundancies during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
After suffering a significant (short-term) surplus of people, we’re now seeing (again) a shortage of experienced pilots, maintenance engineers, air traffic controllers, operational planning and other associated service provider personnel across the system.
At the same time, as a result of the Alaska Airlines door plug accident, Boeing’s 737 Max manufacturing / assembly systems and processes are being heavily scrutinised by the Federal Aviation Administration to determine if they meet the approved design and quality requirements.
The key to having passengers walking off an aircraft at their intended destination is to be extra vigilant and double down on effectively implementing safety management systems.
To see some of AP’s Managing Director Keith Tonkin’s commentary on the recent aircraft accidents, take a look at the links below:
- Japan Airlines 516 collision with Coast Guard Dash 8
- Alaska Airlines 1282 door plug accident
- Lizard Island C208 accident
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