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A new era for aviation safety

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A new era for aviation safety
Four international bodies have signed an agreement aimed at improving aviation safety.


September 28, 2010
By The Canadian Press

Sept. 28, 2010, Montreal – Four international bodies have signed an agreement
aimed at improving aviation safety.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, the U.S.
Department of Transportation, the European Union and the
International Air Transport Association signed the deal in Montreal
today.

The groups say the Global Safety Information Exchange will see
more information being shared.

Ray LaHood, the U.S. transportation secretary, is calling the
agreement a "very, very good first step."

IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani says the deal signals a
new era of multlateral co-operation between industry and government.

ICAO secretary general Raymond Benjamin says the agreement is
important because the four organizations collected an enormous
amount of information in the past, but didn't communicate too much.

"This ) will be a major achievement because by sharing all of
this safety data we will be in a position to better improve our
safety record," Benjamin told The Canadian Press.

He says the database will include safety information from the
United States, Europe, ICAO's 190 member states and audits provided
by IATA, which represents the world's airlines.

"All of that information would include the airworthiness of the
aircraft, the airworthiness of a fleet (and) information in terms of
how many inspectors of a country are overseeing the airlines,"
Benjamin added.

"At this stage it will be accessible to us (four). In a second
stage, we will try to get more partners."

According to ICAO figures, there were 14 accidents involving
scheduled air services _ aircraft with seven passengers or more _ in
2009, resulting in 654 fatalities. That number includes crew
members.

Statistics collected over the past two decades reveal the worst
year in terms of strictly passenger fatalities was 1996 when 1,173
died in 24 accidents.

ICAO compiles separate aviation security statistics, which
include "acts of unlawful interference and in-flight attacks."

Those figures include the terrorism attacks in the United States
on Sept. 11, 2001, which the agency estimates resulted in 3,525
deaths and 3,217 injuries.

ICAO said three people were killed worldwide during 23 so-called
acts of unlawful interference in 2009.

"For us, the threat to civil aviation is high and will remain
high," he said.

"It is a global system of aviation where, if one terrorist gets
into the system at one point in the world, he will end up a few
hours later in another part of the world."

Capt. Dan Adamus, North American vice-president of the
International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations, says his
group supports any initiative to improve safety.

The association represents more than 100,000 pilots in nearly 100
countries around the world.

"Those of us in North America don't simply fly in North American
air space, we're flying in airspace around the world, so we'd like
to know what's in Africa for example and the Middle East," said
Adamus, who flies for Air Canada Jazz.

"So I think if this is extended so more authorities around the
world participate, the better."