By Bjorn Fehrm in Dublin
June 1, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: We report from the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Annual General Meeting running in Dublin Thursday and Friday this week, where all the world’s airlines meet to report on a number of initiatives and decide on things to do going forward.
The first briefing from IATA was on the level of safety in the air for 2015, measured through the IATA Operational Safety Audit, IOSA. 2015 was a good year, not quite to the level of 2014 which was the safest year in history, but close at 0.32 jet hull losses per one million flights instead of 0.27 recorded for 2014, Figure 1.
As a reference, the the 2013 rate was 0.41 hull losses over one million flights. The 2015 rate was a 30% improvement over the average rate of the years 2010-2014. The turboprop level was worse at 1.29 hull losses per million flights but it was a large improvement compared to previous years at 3.13 and 3.95. It shall be cautioned that the sample size for Turboprops is much smaller than for Jets, therefore one hull loss will affect the statistics quite a lot.
Accident rate for airlines is lowered by the IATA Audits
There is a major difference in accidents for airline operators that are part of the IATA Operator Safety Audits (IOSA) versus those that are not. The IOSA program checks that the airline’s management and infrastructure meet the highest industry standards. Consequently airlines which are audited show a clear advantage in air safety. The global accident rate over the years 2010-2015 was three times better than for non IOSA airlines, Figure 2.
The IATA Safety Audit is getting more and more traction. Out of the 404 airlines that are scrutinized under IOSA, 144 are non IATA members, so the Operators Safety Audit has grown larger than IATA itself. The Finnish Transport Safety Agency has recently declared that it will start to include the IOSA statistics and data into its own safety work; other countries will follow says IATA.
IATA is actively supporting the ICAO recent decisions on airliner tracking. In November 2015, ICAO made all operators of air transport operations responsible for tracking their own aircraft in their area of operations. ICAO currently requires that the tracking happens every 15 minutes during normal operations and as of March 2016, an amendment was approved that requires that this shortens to one minute intervals when a set of criteria has established that the aircraft is no longer operating normally (loss of altitude, thrust, systems or communication…).
The requirement also includes the timely availability of the flight data recorders after a crash. Exactly how this is implemented is left open. The standard is performance-based, i.e., prescribes what shall be achieved and leaves the implementation open to the airline operator. The reason is the blinding speed of technology which is becoming available. Worldwide satellite surveillance is developing really fast as the connected aircraft offering on-board Internet is becoming a commercial necessity. As an example, the tracking at a crash over sea can be fulfilled with real time streaming of the data over satellite to the operator or by an ejectable recorder floating to the surface after a crash. Exactly what means shall be used to fulfill the requirement is up to the operator.
The 15 minute requirement has to be implemented before 8 November 2018 and the 1 minute before 1 Jan. 2021. There were voices raised in the meeting “why wait until 2018 for this to be mandatory?” IATA’s Senior Vice President of Safety and Flight Operations, Gilberto Lopez-Meyer, responded “the implications for the Worldwide airline infrastructure is tremendous and it will need to this time to give every airline and geography a chance to comply.”