"For the 21st century, the most critical question is whether - given the increasing technical sophistication of our industry and the expectations of the public - ICAO's 185 sovereign member states will all develop the individual competence and financial means to provide effective safety oversight and "state-of-the-art" infrastructure.

A potential crisis for the industry is that if we were to maintain the same accident rate and double the traffic over the next 12 to 14 years, we would be faced with double the number of accidents. This is preventable.

IATA has a seven-point programme to contribute to halving the accident rate by 2004 compared with 1995. Three recent IATA initiatives include:

• setting up an incident reporting and sharing database, together with safety trend evaluation and analysis ;

• enhancing availability of safety information too all member airlines. IATA has established an alliance with the Flight Safety Foundation with this in mind;

• to introduce membership operational quality standards, designed to strengthen qualification criteria for new members in 2000 - and eventually for all members. IATA is working on the details. It is essential that in this decade we, as an industry, are able to reach a new significantly improved safety level."

Source: Flight International