KIERAN DALY / LONDON
Pilots at Luxair are blaming management for a breakdown of trust that has blocked the implementation of a flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) programme at the airline after its fatal Fokker 50 crash on 6 November 2002. Investigators attributed the accident primarily to poor airmanship, but also questioned the airline's training and hiring practices and recommended that FOQA be introduced at Luxair.
The accident report says the basic cause was that the crew selected ground idle propeller pitch on final approach to Luxembourg Findel airport in fog, and lost control. The aircraft systems did not prevent the selection of ground idle (Flight International, 16-22 December).
FOQA programmes use de-identified data from digital flight data recorders to recognise operational anomalies. If a problem calls for training, pilots can be identified. Luxair's Boeing and Embraer fleets, but not its Fokkers, are equipped with recorders, but data is not being processed. The company blames the Luxembourg Airline Pilots Association (ALPL) for non-co-operation, but the union says since the crash, executives' actions have destroyed trust between pilots and management.
Supported by the European Cockpit Association (ECA), the union claims Luxair called in police when the carrier's flight safety officer (FSO) refused to hand over confidential occurrence reports after the accident. The FSO was then removed from that post, but the ECA brokered a deal under which the pilots would vote for a replacement. After a Luxair runway overrun in September, however, the company selected an FSO without consulting the pilots, says the ECA and ALPL.
ALPL says it supports "the principle of FOQA", but adds: "However, it is equally important that this information be processed according to the agreed procedure."
Source: Flight International