Global Standards, More Data Use, Key to Safely Managing Future Demand

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged aviation stakeholders to follow global standards and make greater use of operational data in order to safely accommodate an additional 3.8 billion air travelers by 2036.

Speaking at the Safety and Flight Operations Conference, IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said, “Over the next 20 years, we expect to see a near doubling of passengers from the approximately 4 billion who traveled in 2017. Managing this growth, while making aviation even safer than it already is, will be a massive undertaking.”

De Juniac noted that 2017 was a very strong year for safety. There were no fatal accidents involving jet passenger aircraft and the fatal accident rate was 0.14 per million flights–the equivalent of one fatal accident for every 6.7 million flights–according, to IATA’s just released 2017 Safety Report.

“If we look at it another way–using fatality risk–on average, a person would have to travel by air every day for 6,033 years before experiencing an accident in which at least one passenger was killed. Yet we still have accidents, so we know there is room for improvement. Each fatality is a tragedy. And that rededicates everyone in the aviation industry to our common goal of having every flight take-off and land safely,” said de Juniac.

Global Standards

Global standards and best practices are vital to sustaining safety improvements. This is demonstrated by the performance of airlines on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry. “Now in its fifteenth year, IOSA is the recognized global standard for operational safety. Over the last five years, the accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry has been nearly three times better than for non-IOSA airlines,” said de Juniac.

To ensure that IOSA delivers even greater value in the future, it is undergoing a digital transformation. Introducing automated advanced business analytics to the IOSA process will enable better management of resources, the ability to measure the effectiveness of standards, and an enhanced level of quality assurance. Digital transformation also will enable more seamless interaction on industry safety initiatives, standards and operational practices, as well as benchmarking.

Greater Use of Operational Data

“As the number of accidents declines, future safety advances primarily will lie in achieving a better understanding of what happens in the more than 100,000 flights operating safely every day, through analysis of flight information and other data resources. IATA’s Global Aviation Data Management initiative is a crucial part of this effort. The GADM program now includes information from over 470 different organizations. Over 90% of IATA members are contributing to at least one of the GADM databases,” said de Juniac.

In a related initiative, IATA and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) recently signed a Memorandum of Collaboration to establish a Safety Predictive Analytics Research Center in Singapore (SPARC). SPARC will leverage operational safety information from GADM to assess potential hazards and identify safety risks. End users across the aviation community can then work collaboratively at the system level to address and implement appropriate safety measures to mitigate the risks, or even to prevent the occurrences of safety hazards.

De Juniac also said that IATA is developing a global database of turbulence reports to provide airlines with an enhanced situational awareness tool. “When our innovative turbulence data repository is operational early next year we expect to see a significant decrease in turbulence-related injuries.”