Air Canada Jazz and lifejackets – revisiting an earlier decision?

A pretty sure bet for an agenda item at today’s Air Canada Jazz management catch-up is a discussion of whether taking lifejackets off their aircraft where possible is quite so sensible in the light of last night’s events.

I said at the time they were brave and wondered if the saved dollars were worth the flack. My guess is that they’re thinking much the same thing themselves now.

That said, one of the commenters on the above thread reports that USAirways didn’t have lifejackets either – relying on flotation cushions. And it rather looks as if the lifejackets being worn by the passengers on the Hudson River A320 got them from the boat crews.

Of course, as it turns out, they didn’t need them. But if things had not gone so well and they had been in the freezing water with flotation cushions, I wonder how it would all have ended? At least two passengers are reported by rescuers as having been more or less incapacitated as it was

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3 Responses to Air Canada Jazz and lifejackets – revisiting an earlier decision?

  1. David Connolly January 16, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    A non-ETOPS non-simulated one chance only perfect ditching in the hypothermic Hudson is a joystick to behold, even if it was a sidestick on the US Airways A-320 Flt. 1549 of the Ides of January. Also, no pax swimming without engines turning, on a river but left standing on a wing with a prayer to the superb CRM of the Hudson’s ferries that converged to form a fleet gives a new perspective on the famed “New York Minute”.
    The PIC, aged 58 had the calm cool hand of the right stuff, executed through his left stuff hand, assuming he was the Pilot Flying, as opposed to PNF/PM. The gearless flare was flawless skill, that makes all of my Boeing flattering multi bogie landings, flattering, when I probably deserved less flattery.
    Also, most importantly, as this commander is on short finals to a chronological age 60, up untill December 2007, an FAA mandatory retirement age, now 65. The Hudson miracle is the exception, that makes the case for total abolishment of all chronological age restrictions and treat all outdated age discrimination with it’s place in the hall of contempt with equality to slavery inn this age of mooted equality,when some are more equal than others.
    In the age of war of attrition between rapacious mad airline management and inflexible vested interest pilot unions, it is uplifting to see a perfect ditching of a metal bird that evolved to a bitch via migrating birds by a human that earned his stripes.

  2. alloycowboy January 17, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    The primary reason Air Canada Jazz elected to go with flotation cushion instead of life jackets is the cost of outfitting the whole fleet with life jackets. It’s not just the cost of the life jackets themselves but also the cost of maintaining them. Another factor is the limited cabin storage space on small regional aircraft.
    Trying to find space for all the required safety equipment is more of an art then a science and requires very creative thinking to satisfy both cabin crews and the regulatory agencies.

  3. Kieran Daly January 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    Yes, but I suspect a better idea would be to take the cabin oxygen system out. Clearly there is now at least a bit of evidence that lifejackets may actually save lives. But as far as I’m aware cabin oxygen, outside of places like the Himalayas, has never saved a life or is ever likely to.

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