Asian carriers have made strong safety progress: AAPA

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The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines says that while airline safety in the region is aligned with global norms, there is room for improvement in some areas.

Speaking at the annual Flightglobal Safety in Aviation event in Singapore, AAPA technical director Martin Eran-Tasker, says accidents have fallen to one per three million flights, compared with three per one million flights a decade ago.

“Over the last ten years safety in the region has improved a great deal owing to the implementation of safety measurement systems, as well as initiatives by ICAO to work with the region’s airlines and regulators,” says Eran-Tasker.

One area where improvement could occur is with turboprop operations, which are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than jet aircraft. This could be due to the unique conditions under which turboprops can operate in the region, such as more basic runways and airports in remote regions.

Eran-Tasker notes that accidents involving either turboprops or jets tend to have commonalities. Accidents in both classes of aircraft have a greater tendency to occur during approach and landing. Crew training and experience levels also contribute to incidents involving both types of aircraft. Aircraft mode awareness can also be an issue.

In an address to the conference, AAPA director general Andrew Herdman commented on wider issues affecting safety in the region. He noted that the region’s disparate nations give it less influence in the global regulatory regime.

“The Asia Pacific needs a more unified voice,” says Herdman. He points to a lack of transparency in regard to the European Union's list of blacklised airlines as a particular case in point.

Herdman adds that while Asia’s airline industry is “delivering continuous improvements in aviation safety performance, a greater effort is needed from some Asian governments to ensure full compliance with agreed ICAO standards of regulatory oversight.”