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In all that we do – we, pilots, are looking for a safer way: using safer technology, finding a safer way to fly, performing safer operations. It is a constant uphill struggle. But the past month has seen a few notable examples of our efforts paying off. We have seen the publication of new European-wide aviation safety legislation and a landmark court case decision that reaffirms our belief in the importance of Just Culture for air safety. We have also red-flagged some potential safety implications of HEMS operations in Europe.

The most important news came on 16 April when a Dutch Court announced its decision to dismiss Ryanair’s defamation complaint against the Dutch TV station KRO. In two programs called “Mayday Mayday” the TV station showed 4 Ryanair pilots raising serious concerns about the company culture and its implications for safety. We, in ECA, now hope that Regulators, like the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), will consider this decision as serious enough to start an independent investigation when pilots are raising such concerns. It is my strong belief that in an airline there should be an open culture based on trust. This gives the pilots the confidence that when they take safety decisions based on their experience and operational knowledge, it will always be supported by the airline management.

This Cockpit News also brings to your attention that the EU-wide Occurrence Reporting Regulation, for which ECA has been an essential stakeholder contributing to the thinking process, has been officially published in EU’s Official Journal. This marks the end of a successful legislative process and hopefully the beginning of ever safer system for collecting and analysing safety information in Europe, to prevent further accidents

Further, our experts on Helicopter operations have brought two important safety issues to our attention. Now we will keep working to bring those points to the attention of EASA and Member States!

Last but not least, we are now more than two months since the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370. Still there is no evidence what happened to this flight and its occupants. I really feel the distress of the relatives of passengers and crew on board and hope that the aircraft will be found soon. Our thoughts are with the missing crew and passengers and their relatives and friends!

by Nico Voorbach