European Pilots And Controllers Welcome European Parliament Vote


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European Pilots And Controllers Welcome European Parliament Vote

Mike Mitchell

July 7, 2010 - Pilots and controllers strongly welcome the European Parliament Transport Committee vote which will provide strict independence of accident safety investigations. This position will allow Europe to strengthen aviation safety through a significantly improved Accident Investigation Regulations.

European Parliament Transport Ministers in the Council must take good note of the will of Europe's citizens as expressed in the Parliament's unanimous vote. In March 2010, the Council adopted a position that would inevitably force pilots and other safety professionals to stop cooperating in safety investigations, to protect themselves from judicial prosecution.


"The European Parliament Transport Committee has delivered a strong and unambiguous message, safety and judicial investigations must be strictly independent from each other and sensitive safety information must be fully protected if we want to continue preventing future accidents" said Capt. Martin Chalk, ECA President. "We wholeheartedly welcome the pro-safety stance developed by the EP rapporteur Mrs de Veyrac and her fellow-Parliamentarians."

IFATCA President Alexis Brathwaite stressed "this balanced and unanimous vote is very good news for Europe's travelling public. The EP agrees that the sole objective of any accident investigation should be to understand what happened and why, in order to improve aviation safety, without apportioning blame or liability."

Accident investigations are key drivers for safety improvements, an opportunity to learn from accidents to prevent them from re-occurring. Safety professionals, pilots and air traffic controllers cooperate in such investigations and provide safety testimony. However, the prior proposed Regulation did not protect this testimony from being used in criminal proceedings. This would have prevented the free flow of information.

Fourteen stakeholder organizations sent a clear message to the EU that the future regulations must fully protect safety data and information if the industry wants to continue improving air safety and preventing future accidents. ?The use of safety information in judicial proceedings should be strictly limited to clearly defined cases.? said Capt. Martin Chalk, ECA President.


?The threat of individual criminal prosecution following the participation in an aviation accident investigation and the use of safety data would mean the end of flight safety advancement, exactly the opposite of the stated aim of the proposed Regulation? said IFATCA President Alexis Brathwaite. 

?Safety and judicial investigations must be fully independent from each other? adds Philip von Sch?ppenthau, ECA Secretary General. ?But the text agreed by the Council of Ministers, last March, even worsens the situation. It would force pilots and others to stop cooperating in safety investigations, simply to protect themselves against judicial prosecution?.
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