Several studies or projects aimed at reducing threats to airline safety are likely to come to fruition in 2015. In one of these, reacting to the French investigator’s recommendations in the report on the loss of Air France flight 447 over the South Atlantic in 2009, Airbus says it is preparing to fit deployable flight data recorders with embedded emergency locator transmitters in A350s and A380s. Airbus says there is more work to do yet, and at the same time there is debate in the industry about how practical this is. No aviation authorities – at present – are planning to mandate deployable FDRs (see Flight International 13-19 January for a study on this).

ICAO’s task force on risks to civil aircraft from conflict zones, set up after the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, will almost certainly produce its conclusions this year – perhaps as early as February, at the organisation’s High Level Safety Conference. So far the task force has been exploring how the existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) system could be better used to share urgent and critical conflict zone risk information. Meanwhile, “key ICAO partners” are working on setting up a new centralised system for “the prompt sharing of conflict zone risk information”. However, says ICAO, it will remain the responsibility of airlines to decide where they fly.

In 2014, ICAO, with the full backing of IATA and following the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, also set up a task force on flight tracking which should report this year. The organisation wants to develop a flight tracking “concept of operations” covering how the new tracking data gets shared, with whom, and under what circumstances. It is also investigating setting up performance-based international standards to ensure “the broader adoption of airline flight tracking throughout the aviation system”.

Analysts at Ascend, a Flightglobal advisory service, note that the aviation insurance war-risk market has hardened slightly because of the MH17 shoot-down loss and fighting in Libya – but not as much as the providers had hoped. Ascend predicts that unless there are more war losses next year, rates will soften again. Meanwhile, remarks Ascend: “The ‘all-risk’ market has hardened a little in that they are not giving so many reductions, and they are either holding the line or getting small increases, but nothing to write home about.

“If nothing much happens, next year the market will soften again. The problem for the risk-takers in both the war and all-risk markets is huge overcapacity.

Source: Flight International