Jazz Aviation starts equipping fleet for FOQA data

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Jazz Aviation is in the early stages of outfitting its fleet with equipment to produce Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) data, says Steve Linthwaite, the airline's vice-president of flight operations.

He was speaking at the Flightglobal Safety in North America conference on 6 November in Montreal.

Jazz intends to use the data to drive improvements in safety training and operational procedures. The airline has outfitted seven of its aircraft with hardware that works with software to record the data. This fleet includes a Bombardier CRJ700 series 705 aircraft, which the airline first outfitted weeks ago and is now pulling out test data from. The system is also installed on six Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s.

The airline is planning to gradually introduce the FOQA data capability to its fleet throughout the year. By capturing aggregate flight data from aircraft, Jazz will be able to track and analyse several parameters over time to uncover trends in operations and safety. The airline says it foresees the information having the potential to refine its operational procedures and training, as the constant stream of data will point to trends that it could not detect otherwise.

The systems data will be recorded on cards on the aircraft, and from there it can be transmitted wirelessly to the ground to undergo analysis, says Linthwaite.

Nearly all of Jazz's commercial flying fleet are used to satisfy its capacity purchase agreement with Air Canada. As of the second quarter of 2012, the airline operates 125 aircraft covered under this deal. That number of aircraft will drop to 122 by February 2013 after it acquires six more Q400 aircraft. These will replace nine Bombardier CRJ100 aircraft when they come into the fleet.

Jazz started introducing its safety management system in 2003 and says that the ability to use flight data will augment the process.