Industry moves to modernise global airline pilot standards

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IATA has enlisted the Royal Aeronautical Society to help it to frame a set of data-derived competency standards for airline pilot selection, training and evaluation that will modernise and unify global pilot licensing measures.

In this objective, IATA and the RAeS are working in harmony with the International Civil Aviation Organisation whose senior safety advisor at the ICAO Air Navigation Bureau Paul Lamy. He was at the RAeS to speak about ICAO's parallel programme, Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP).

RAeS president Lee Balthazor and Günther Matschnigg, senior vice-president safety, operations and infrastructure at IATA, signed a statement of intent at the RAeS headquarters in London during the 15-16 February IATA Training and Qualification Initiative (ITQI) conference. The agreement said: "IATA will assist the RAeS with taking forward the work that seeks to assist the flight training community to reach agreement internationally on a common set of flight crew training, instruction and evaluation standards and processes."

Balthazor explained: "The quest for continuing improvement in safety is fundamental to aviation. This conference, organised jointly by the RAeS, ICAO and IATA was designed to accelerate the effectiveness of selecting and training flight operations, engineering and maintenance staff."

Former RAeS president David Rowland explained the synergies among the three organisations involved in turning this vision of improved, modernised and globally harmonised training and competency standards into reality. IATA knows what it has now, in terms of professional standards among pilots and maintenance engineers, but understands that training and licensing criteria are out of date and need reassessment and change. It has enlisted the RAeS as an independent and globally recognised learned society to use operational data to frame selection and training requirements based on assembled evidence. And ultimately the ICAO will be responsible for framing the relevant global standards and recommended practices and seeking approval for them at its Council.

Rowland said he recognises that the natural conservatism of the aviation establishment, including national regulators, will make the task a long one, but the roadmap has now been drawn and the journey can begin.