Saturday, April 28, 2012

Civil Aviation Authority suggested to implement foolproof aviation standards

ISLAMABAD - The report on Airblue plane crash incident recommends to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to implement sophisticated safety procedures to avoid air crashes in future while the Authority’s management insists its aviation standards are ranked among the best in the world.

The investigation report on the July 28, 2010 deadly plane crash that took 152 lives is prepared by the aviation experts of CAA’s Safety Investigations Board (SIB) under the direct supervision of the Authority’s renowned aviation investigator Group Captain (Retd) Mujahdul Islam who also heads the probe launched into the recent Bhoja Air’s Boeing 737 crash incident.

The report recommends, “Information to public on the progress of the investigation process through the media by trained / qualified investigators of SIB be ensured on regular intervals.”

On the other hand, the investigation document was mandated as confidential and kept completely classified with no related progress ever been shared with the media by the CAA management till the arrival of this report.

General Manager Public Relations and Spokesperson CAA Pervaiz George said that CAA’s air safety practices were rated among the best across the globe. He referred to ICAO inspectors last year visit to Pakistan to conduct CAA audit under the reputed Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), saying that International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) officials found the Authoritys’ aviation practices as ‘highly satisfactory’ and ‘one of the best.’

 “The CAA’s compliance ratio with ICAO standards is 83 percent, one of the highest in the world. The ICAO has not only rated our performance very high but it has also suggested that other countries should avail from our expertise.”

The CAA is providing technical assistance to some other states in improving their aviation standards, George claimed.  Of the 15 proposed safety measures to ensure air safety provisions and avoid air crashes, some key recommendations in the recently released 38-page report suggest implementation of the safety aviation procedures like proposed established of the UN recommended Instrument Landing System (ILS), implementation of Safety Management System (SMS) at Air Traffic System (ATS), Installation of Approach Radar Scope (ARS) at the control towers at respective airports, implementation of Crew Resource Management (CRM) programme and practicing Circle Approach System (CAS) to avoid Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) as well as a host of other recommendations.

All these proposed safety procedures are duly certified by the United Nations aviation body ICAO and some of which the CAA presently adheres to.According to sources, the CAA lacks sufficient funds to establish ILS, which, sources argue, if established, would, “Virtually eliminate the chances of air crashes provided that it is followed in letter and spirit.”

The ILS primarily follows Instrument Meteorological System (IMS) that links flights’ departures with weather conditions in addition to laying down a comprehensive set of safety rules.

The Authority is also yet to acquire the Approach Radar System at the respective control towers of Pakistan’s international and domestic airports for enhanced monitoring of aviation standards. Reportedly, the CAA already practices the aviation safety guidelines laid down in the Document 4444 (Doc 4444-RAC/501) of the ICAO on aviation safety standards but this Document has undergone three major amendments with necessary modifications that are yet to be adopted by Pakistan. These amendments (corrigenda) were reported to have been made in the 13th edition of the 4444 Document titled, “Procedures for Air Navigation Services, Rules of the Air and Air Traffic Services.”

Moreover, the framework for the implementation of Crew Resource Management programme and Circle Approach System to avoid CFIT is already existent in the Civil Aviation Authority but it needs to be proactively practiced, it is further learnt.

“Airblue crash has been finalised as a case of Controlled Flight into Terrain(CFIT), in which aircrew failed to display superior judgment and professional skills in a self-created unsafe environment.

In their pursuit to land in inclement weather, they committed serious violations of procedures and breaches of flying discipline, which put the aircraft in an unsafe condition over dangerous terrain at low altitude,” report says pointing to the flight captain’s negligence terming it a major cause of the fatal incident that took so many lives.

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