Airline Flight Safety develops a safety culture at the Airline, which requires the collection of relevant data on safety-related events and then assessing or analyzing that data.

What is Flight Safety

The entire set of rules to ensure the safety of flight personnel and passengers during the flight is called flight safety.

All passengers are obliged to comply with these rules in order to complete the journey safely. Flight safety begins with international aviation rules and these rules are universal. In addition to these rules, airlines can set extra flight safety rules according to their flight policies.

Flight Safety Department

The main objective of the Flight Safety Department is to develop a safety culture in the Airline. This is done with the intention of minimizing the exposure to risks that can be harmful beyond the acceptable limits defined in the flight safety manual.

All air carriers should have a safety department that addresses the broad range of risks involved in commercial aviation to include, but not limited to, flight, maintenance, and ground safety. Since operators vary in both size and scope of operations, it is appropriate to consider such criteria as the kind of operations involved, the number and type of airplanes used, and the areas of operations when determining the size and complexity of a safety department.

Flight Safety Program

Flight Safety Program provides for the identification of hazards and the analysis of information and data associated with aircraft operations thru the implementation of systematic processes for identifying and analyzing hazards and potentially hazardous conditions. The production of the relevant information and data from the flight safety program will be used by operational HODs for the prevention of incidents and accidents.

Any safety program should be designed to prevent personal injury and property losses resulting from accidents and incidents.

Objectives of Safety program

The primary objectives of a safety program should be to –

  • Motivate safe actions through the establishment of a dynamic corporate safety culture,
  • Identify hazards to safe operations,
  • Work with other company departments to develop and implement safety interventions,
  • Monitor intervention strategies to validate the effectiveness, and
  • Communicate the results throughout the air carrier.

Chief of Flight Safety

To ensure an effective flight safety program it is essential that each air operator certificate holder has a Chief of Flight Safety (CFS). This person would be responsible for keeping the highest management officials of the certificate holder fully informed about the safety status of the certificate holder’s entire operation.

The Chief of Flight safety is responsible to the CAA/CEO for:

  • Ensuring that a Flight Safety Manual is prepared which describes the airline’s safety policy & procedures that all employees are familiarized with this Manual and comply with the same. The Flight Safety Manual is reviewed and amended periodically so that its contents are in compliance with the current requirements/changes.
  • Establishing a reporting system that provides for a timely and free flow of safety-related information.
  • Maintaining the air safety occurrence reporting database.
  • Monitoring corrective actions and flight safety trends.
  • Co-ordinating with CAA for Mandatory Occurrence Reporting requirements.
  • Soliciting and processing safety improvement suggestions.
  • Developing and maintaining a safety awareness program.
  • Liaising with the heads of all departments company-wide on flight safety matters.
  • Acting as Chairman of the Company Flight Safety Committee, arranging its meetings and keeping records of such meetings.
  • Disseminating flight safety-related information company-wide.
  • Maintaining an open liaison with manufacturers’ customer flight safety departments, government regulatory bodies, and other flight safety organizations worldwide.
  • Assisting with the investigation of accidents, and conducting and coordinating investigations into incidents.
  • Carrying out safety audits and inspections.
  • Maintaining familiarity with all aspects of the Company’s activities and its personnel.
  • Reviewing and evaluating the adequacy of the emergency response plan.
  • Planning and controlling the Flight Safety budget.
  • Managing or have oversight of the Flight Data Analysis / Flight Data Monitoring Program.
  • Publishing the periodic Company flight safety magazine.
  • Participation in corporate strategic planning.

Components of Flight Safety Organisation

A flight safety organisation depending upon size and scope of operation usually have following components:

  • Flight operation quality assurance cell for monitoring of CVR, DFDR, and carrying out inflight inspections.
  • Accident/Incident investigation cell (Permanent Investigation Board) to conduct an investigation and assist in investigations by CAA. These cells have pilots (Senior Pilot/Instructor/Examiner) on type and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer with sufficient background in quality assurance and investigations.
  • Accident Prevention Cell.

Flight Safety Manual

The Flight Safety Manual clearly lays down the Company’s safety policies, flight safety awareness, and accident/incident prevention program. The flight safety manual is prepared according to the Civil Aviation Authority’s guidelines.

This manual is developed and issued by the Safety Department of the Airline. It lays down the accident prevention policy and incident investigation procedures of the Airline. The contents of this manual are in conformity with the Rules and Regulations issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of state and are consistent with the standards prescribed through ICAO Annex-13 to the Chicago convention 1949 on Aircraft Accident Investigation.

Airline Safety Policy

Safety at every step is the work ethos at any airline. They are committed to developing, implementing, maintaining, and constantly improving strategies and processes to ensure that all aviation activities take place under an appropriate allocation of organizational resources, aimed at achieving the highest level of safety performance and meeting regulatory requirements while delivering their services.

All employees are protected by a non-punitive reporting policy which is the key element in developing a just culture. All levels of management and all employees are responsible for the delivery of the highest level of safety performance.

A perfect example of safety policy in any airline is …

Safety Policy – Example

Safety policy may include following points –

  • Support the management of safety through the provision of all appropriate resources, resulting in an organizational culture that fosters safe practices, encourages effective safety reporting, and communication in order to actively manage safety.
  • Ensure the management of safety is a primary responsibility of all managers and employees.
  • Clearly define for all staff, accountabilities, and responsibilities for the delivery of the organization’s safety performance and the performance of the airline’s Safety Management System.
  • Establish and operate Hazard Identification and Risk Management process, including a Safety/ Hazard Reporting System, in order to eliminate or mitigate the safety risks of the consequences of hazards resulting from airline operations or activities to achieve continuous improvement in organizational safety performance, all to a point which is as low as reasonably practicable.
  • Ensure that no action will be taken against any employee who discloses a safety concern through the hazard reporting system unless such disclosure indicates beyond a reasonable doubt, gross negligence, or a deliberate or willful disregard of regulations or procedures.
  • Support the management of Safety through the provision of all appropriate resources including the quality policy and use of quality assurance processes and authority for decision making and budget expenditure resulting in an organizational culture that fosters safe practices, effective safety reporting, and communication, and actively manages safety with the same attention to the results as the attention to the results of the other management system of the organization.
  • Comply with all national legislative and regulatory requirements and standards, and where possible exceed by adopting internationally approved best practices.
  • Ensure that staff training needs are identified and training imparted in a timely manner, the effectiveness of the training is to be evaluated periodically.
  • Ensure sufficient skilled and trained human resources are available to implement safety strategies and processes.
  • Ensure that all staff is provided with adequate and appropriate aviation safety information and training, are competent in safety matters, and are allocated tasks commensurate with their skills.
  • Ensuring that two-way communication is established between all staff & management for the flow of safety-critical information and safety promotion.
  • Establish and measure safety performance against realistic safety performance indicators and safety performance targets.
  • Continually improve airline’s safety performance through continuous monitoring and measurement, regular reviews, adjustment of safety objectives and targets.
  • Continually review non-compliances that are the subject of exemptions against relevant safety assessments or cases, applying corrective action as per the agreed action plan.
  • Advising the regulatory authority of non-compliance and corrective action plan. Further, advise the regulatory authority of any deviation from the corrective action plan.
  • Ensuring that any change/changes which affect our daily operations would undergo management of change procedure.
  • Ensures that the organization works cooperatively with all external and internal stakeholders using safety committees and joint safety teams where necessary. All outsourced activities to support airline operations are delivered meeting organization safety performance standards.
  • Ensuring that relevant safety-critical information is communicated to contractors or external agencies and feedback is received on the same.
  • Ensuring that an effective and disciplined documentation control process is established. 

Purpose of Flight Safety Training

Necessary training and awareness is provided, in order to reduce –

  • Risk of airborne conflict
  • Flight Plan errors
  • CFIT events
  • Incorrect boarding
  • Loss of control precursor events
  • Number of runway excursions & Incursions
  • Number of ground occurrences involving aircraft
  • Incidents related to loading of cargo and dangerous goods
  • Workplace related Injuries
  • Ramp incidents
  • Unruly occurrence
  • Human factors related incidents
  • Wildlife activity-induced damages
  • Incidents caused due to maintenance issues
  • Non-compliances raised during audit/surveillance observations

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