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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Air France Keeps Safety Conclusions Private

An independent review of Air France’s safety procedures commissioned by the operator in December 2009 has issued 35 recommendations, although the carrier has decided to keep most of the conclusions to itself.
The panel was established after the loss of Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200 service between Rio de Janeiro and Paris that crashed into the Atlantic in June 2009 killing all 228 on board. While the cause of that crash has still to be determined, Air France’s safety protocols and training came under scrutiny, which in turn caused a rift between the airline’s pilots and management.
Some of the preliminary recommendations from the Independent Safety Review Team have already been disclosed, notably the formation of a flight safety committee within Air France’s board of directors (Aviation Daily, Sept. 9, 2010). Air France now confirms it has also launched a Line Operations Safety Audit, a system that monitors pilots during flight operations, which the airline says it is introducing in Europe.
“The independent safety review’s work mainly focused on listening to employees’ accounts and observing the airline’s operating methods. These observations were analyzed by the safety review team’s eight experts: safety systems and safety management in aeronautical sectors or other sectors, “resilience” of the organizations and human factors,” says Air France in a release, adding, “The findings primarily concern the company’s organization, its corporate culture and the individual behavior of its staff, managers and unions.”
Air France, which notes that the review was not an audit and found the carrier in compliance with all regulatory requirements, says ‘most of the recommendations will be rapidly implemented in line with a schedule to be defined shortly and monitored in the groups concerned.
“The adaptation, postponing or non-acknowledgment of any of these proposals will be subject to discussion and validation by these groups.”
Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, Air France-KLM’s CEO, continues, “Air France is the only airline to submit itself, on its sole initiative, to the opinion of a team of external experts to whom I extend my gratitude for the quality of the work accomplished. By implementing their recommendations, which combine the best practices observed individually in other airlines worldwide, Air France will place its flight safety performance at the highest level possible.”

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