Almost two-thirds of industry personnel believe aviation safety is improving, according the results of an extensive survey.
However, respondents cited concerns around a declining pool of expert employees, management style and priorities and complacency as threats to that improvement.
Flightglobal’s advisory service Ascend carried out the survey of more than 2,000 professionals, working across all levels of aerospace and air transport.
Overall 60% of respondents believe safety has become better over the last five years, while only 31% think it has stayed still.
Expectations for the next five years are broadly positive, too, with 52% of the opinion that safety will be enhanced, and only 13% convinced it will worsen.
Data from Ascend shows a general downward trend in the number of fatal passenger accidents each year.
Provided with 12 potential challenges to safety, participants were asked what level of threat each one represented.
Top of the list was the risk of fatigue among safety-critical employees like engineers, pilots and air traffic controllers, followed by a shortage of experienced personnel, complacency, airline management experience/attitude/culture and a lack of effective safety oversight.
Among 10 potential drivers for safety improvement, the most popular choice was management accountability for safety, shortly followed by new technology for aircraft and air traffic management, increased sharing of safety data and industry best practice.
Respondents were also keen to see a review of pilot training and a similar study into the safety effects of low-cost carriers’ employment policies.
More than 20% of participants in the survey hold very senior management positions in the industry, including that of chief executive. Some 23% are team leaders or heads of department and 38% are qualified professionals.
Those working for airlines or in the aerospace manufacturing sectors make up the highest proportion, but maintenance, repair and overhaul providers and the insurance and finance industries are also represented. The questions were intended to reveal the perceptions of industry safety standards by those within it or serving it.