The Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) has said that the preliminary report into last month’s fatal air crash at Cork Airport, published today by the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit, raises very serious questions about the regulatory environment in European aviation.
Captain Evan Cullen, President of IALPA, said, “This is a difficult day for the relatives and friends of those who died in the accident, and we need to acknowledge that first and foremost. Air accident investigations play a vital role in maintaining the safety of air travel, and this is only the first part of the process that will allow us a full insight into what happened.
“The preliminary report raises a number of questions about the circumstances of this accident. It suggests that the pilots on board the aircraft had relatively limited training and limited experience, and it is possible that both of these factors were contributory factors in the crash.
“However, rather than seeking to apportion blame, I do think we need to question why the training and experience of the flight crew was limited in these circumstances.
“We also need to ask what regulatory changes are necessary to avoid a similar accident from happening. For example, what changes need to be made to regulations governing the selection and training of flight crews?
“There is a very serious disconnect in the regulatory framework that permits a loose relationship between a so-called virtual airline that takes passengers money, the company that supplies the aircraft and the company that operates the aircraft. A regulatory environment that permits such fragile connections between these different operations is unsustainable.
“There is a responsibility on everyone working throughout the European aviation industry to consider these questions carefully, in order to ensure that an accident like this can never happen again. Some comfort can be taken from the fact that these investigations often result in findings that make air travel safer. On behalf of IALPA, I also want to express thanks to the AAIU for their work to date. I wish them well over the coming months in producing a comprehensive report from which we can all learn” he said.