Changes in the way the world air transport industry operates has prompted the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) to commission a study to see whether human factors affect cockpit safety.

Factors such as the growth of global airline alliances and the introduction of common licensing standards for all European pilots increases the likelihood that more crews will comprise pilots whose mother tongues and cultures differ, says the JAA.

Other factors that may have cockpit safety repercussions are increased competition, the continuing growth in demand for air transport leading to possible pilot shortages and congested skies, and the introduction of "new concepts in air transport provision such as 'no frills' airlines and virtual airlines", says the JAA.

The research will be done by a UK-based consortium headed by Icon Consulting, working with industrial specialist Human Reliability Associates and the International Air Transport Association.

Source: Flight International