Emirates today issued a statement defending its safety practices in response to the preliminary report of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau into the Airbus A340-500 take-off overrun at Melbourne last month.

The statement reads as follows:

Emirates has reviewed the ATSB preliminary report on its flight EK407 from Melbourne to Dubai on 20th March 2009. Emirates accepts the contents of the report.

The Melbourne event is being treated very seriously and with the highest priority at the most senior level in the company. The safety of Emirates' passengers, crew and aircraft is the organisation's top priority and is placed before anything else.

Immediately following the event, Emirates initiated an internal investigation of the incident through a formal in-house board of enquiry. The aim is to ensure that such an event does not occur again, given the airline's rigorous and internationally-recognised safety, training and operational standards.

Emirates' existing standard operating procedures are robust; incorporate within them structured and multi-layered checks and balances; and are also in line with procedures specified by the manufacturer. Emirates ongoing investigation will focus on why the data input error, as outlined in its own investigation as well as in the ATSB report, occurred and was not detected through the safety processes.

Emirates' existing procedures - approved by the manufacturer and regulatory authority - if correctly followed are indeed very safe. However, to further enhance these procedures and to allow the ATSB investigation to run its course, Emirates has proactively put in place additional physical safeguards to perform independent performance calculations using two computers. Additional technical enhancements have also been initiated.

Under a state air safety investigation, the official investigating body (in this instance ATSB) has the legal responsibility and takes possession of relevant information and data captured through the flight data recorders. Within this framework, Emirates' ongoing internal investigation includes the review of human factors, training, fleet technical and procedures, hardware and software technology, as it is industry practice to review all aspects of the operation following an event of this nature.

Safety is at the forefront of all operations within the Emirates Group. Emirates' modern and young aircraft fleet is safely operated according to the standard operating procedures specified in the flight crew operating manual - a document supplied to Emirates by the aircraft manufacturer. Additionally, the airline's internal policies regarding operational safety are contained in the Emirates flight operations manual. Both documents are approved by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority.

Emirates has a dedicated, independent, safety department which includes a flight safety unit. Emirates' Flight Safety comprises managers and pilots, who are experts in their respective fields, to provide investigation and safety advice. The unit proactively promotes innovative ideas and technology in the following areas in order to improve operational safety.

• Voluntarily introducing systems to improve operational safety

• Meeting international safety standards, often before these are mandated

• Setting Safety best practices

• Initiating and participating in international safety forums

At present, repair options for the aircraft are under consideration in conjunction with the manufacturer. A final decision on the form of repair of the aircraft is yet to be taken.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news