Global airlines, coming off a record-low accident rate in 2017, need to guard against complacency over safety as heavy growth in travel demand stretches the air transport system, industry leaders warned at a conference last week.
There were no jet crashes in 2017 and 19 fatalities across the sector, while some 301 passengers have died in five crashes over just the first five months of 2018, including the first fatality on a United States airline since 2009. The other fatal accidents occurred in Cuba, Russia, Iran and Nepal.
Air transportation advocates say it is still by far the safest form of travel. But the industry also needs to modernize a fragmented infrastructure and adopt new technology to keep it safe even as demand balloons, delegates at annual talks of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
Alexandre de Juniac, director-general of the group of 280 airlines, called for a continued rigid focus on safety.
“No arrogance in any case: (we need) humility and work,” he said after IATA’s three-day meeting in Sydney.
With IATA forecasting passenger traffic will nearly double by 2036, there are worries over whether the industry will be able to attract and train enough capable pilots and engineers.
Rising congestion in airspace and at airports, some of which are operating above capacity, and poor air traffic control are already posing challenges.
A deadly plane crash in Nepal in March is a case in point.
Airline and airport authorities in Kathmandu have blamed each other after the US-Bangla Airlines crash that killed 49 in what is the Himalayan nation’s worst air disaster since 1992.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but a transcript of pilot radio conversations with the ground revealed confusion over the designated runway.
Aviation remains a “very, very safe industry” despite the accidents this year, but there is concern over whether systems can keep pace with future growth, said Peter Harbison, executive chairman of Sydney-based CAPA Centre for Aviation.
“There are worries about having lesser-trained pilots and that creating more risk, or congested airspace, air traffic control that is not adequate to support the services going through,” he said…Fuente: http://www.cos-mag.com/article/37157-airlines-warned-against-complacency-after-dream-safety-run/