backfire
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Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:01 am

Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:13 pm

Just a few questions I'd like to throw open to the floor. I'm not convinced that an airline blacklist is going to make any difference to air transport safety. I'd appreciate your thoughts on the following:




What criteria will be used to put an airline on a blacklist?

Even the 'best' carriers can be picked up on potential safety lapses, depending how closely you look. Is unsigned paperwork evidence of slack safety? Or does a wing have to fall off first?

The SAFA programme, which has been used in Europe to perform spot-checks on carriers, only concentrates on technical oversights on single airframes. Is that enough to ban an entire fleet?

And what about non-technical criteria? Since poor crew resource management and crew error are still playing a huge role in the accident chain, these must surely be taken into account when deciding how 'safe' an airline is - and therefore whether the carrier is included on a blacklist. How should this aspect be measured?

We might think it's "obvious" that British Airways shouldn't be on the list, and certain other airlines should, but a blacklist can't be defined by gut feeling - there have to be clearly-defined reasons.

Start trying to define those reasons and it quickly becomes a difficult task.



What happens when safety conflicts with political interests?

Would a government really be prepared to ban an airline from a country with which it has strong political or trade links?

Can you imagine Spain or Portugal banning a Latin American carrier? What happens if that Latin American state responds with its own unilateral blacklist and, using a minor oversight as an excuse, bans Iberia or TAP? Who really ends up under the most pressure?



Is there any reason to believe it would be effective?

Think about this: How many of the airlines involved in the recent accidents - Air France, West Caribbean, Tuninter, Helios Airways, TANS - would realistically have been on a blacklist before their recent accidents?

Would anyone have committed the resources to audit West Caribbean? Even if they had, would they have declared the airline unsafe? French authorities declared Flash Airlines safe before the Sharm El-Sheikh crash - it seems unlikely, therefore, that Flash would have been on any French blacklist.

Since a blacklist is designed to save lives and pressure carriers into improving safety, adding an airline to a blacklist only after it's had a fatal accident makes the exercise completely pointless. The passengers are still dead and the airline has all the pressure it needs.

Besides - if passengers start avoiding carriers on blacklists, then you can draw only one logical conclusion: passengers will start dying only on airlines which are not blacklisted. And then where do you go?

[Edited 2005-08-27 14:15:14]
 
EZEIZA
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RE: Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:37 am

Quoting Backfire (Thread starter):
What happens when safety conflicts with political interests?

Would a government really be prepared to ban an airline from a country with which it has strong political or trade links?

Can you imagine Spain or Portugal banning a Latin American carrier? What happens if that Latin American state responds with its own unilateral blacklist and, using a minor oversight as an excuse, bans Iberia or TAP? Who really ends up under the most pressure?

This is the first thought that came to mind as well. Political and economical pressures to not be blacklisted or to put X airline in the list would be huge and would only create that the list would not be an accurate list of "unsafe" airlines

Quoting Backfire (Thread starter):
Is there any reason to believe it would be effective?



Quoting Backfire (Thread starter):
Besides - if passengers start avoiding carriers on blacklists, then you can draw only one logical conclusion: passengers will start dying only on airlines which are not blacklisted. And then where do you go?

I agree 100%

regards
Carp aunque ganes o pierdas ...
 
RICARIZA
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:56 am

RE: Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:56 am

Quoting Backfire (Thread starter):
West Caribbean, Tuninter, Helios Airways, TANS - would realistically have been on a blacklist before their recent accidents?

Would anyone have committed the resources to audit West Caribbean?

Well, not a black list, but West Caribbean's entire fleet was grounded by the Civil Aeronautics (Colombian FAA) after conducting an audit. The plane that crashed was a charter and apparently passed the controls. One of the thesis of the crash is "lack of fuel".

I don't know, I have mixed feelings about the black list. I understand your points but on the other hand, one a foreigner goes into a country and uses an airline that is the first time he heard of, is taking a bigger risk. At least it will have its own country's black list to check if the airline is there. It happen to me. A few years ago I went to Ecuador. My flight on Saeta was cancelled and I had to take TAME which I didn't know, I had a very bumpy ride from Quito to Guayaquil and then a month later, that same plane crashed.
On the other hand I agree that even the biggest airlines have problems, look at the AF incident in Canada for example or the 744 of Northwest who had a problem with its front wheel.

So, I repeat, I have mixed feelings, I guess I will published the incidents of each airline with some ratings and advice and let people make their own conclusions and decisions.
I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
 
EZEIZA
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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:09 am

RE: Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:07 am

Why a blcak list in the first place? What could be done is simply a official list of all commercial airlines and their safety record, fleet age, etc., so then the paseenger can check the airline on the list before booking a ticket. In that way you would avoid all the political pressures, etc. probably a dumb idea but I know i would check a list of that sort (...or i would just ask for info here on a.net Big grin )
Carp aunque ganes o pierdas ...
 
backfire
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RE: Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:33 am

May I expand on a point I made in the original post: that of the crew aspect.

If crew error contributes directly to an accident, it stands to reason that the airline was inherently 'unsafe' beforehand because of the crew it employed.

And consider this: What if the crew leaves the airline before this hypothetical accident? If the crew transfers from Airline A to Airline B, does that mean Airline A becomes 'safer' and Airline B becomes 'riskier'?

What implication does that have for the realistic value of a blacklist?
 
RICARIZA
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:56 am

RE: Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:12 am

Quoting EZEIZA (Reply 3):
What could be done is simply a official list of all commercial airlines and their safety record, fleet age, etc., so then the paseenger can check the airline on the list before booking a ticket.

My point exactly...  Smile
I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
 
Thomas_Jaeger
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RE: Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:53 am

As far as I know, the Swiss blacklist will just be an official list of all airlines and aircraft which are currently banned in Switzerland. They have published a list before but now they seem to be looking at continously updating it. So it won't be a good-bad list as such, it will be a allowed/banned list, so passengers will not be able to choose an airline for flights from/to Switzerland which is banned anyway.
Swiss aviation news junkie living all over the place
 
MEA-707
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RE: Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:21 am

I think a list like that is just populistic crap, so politicians can pretend they took action against unsafe airliners.
Do you think France will ever put on a major Airbus customer on that list?
Even if China Airlines have three new crashes this year caused by fighting pilots and bad maintenance, Airbus and the ministry of foreign affairs will probably block their addition to that list.
Probably some airlines will appear on it which doesn't land in France anyway, like Myanmar Air, IBIS Congo and TANS.
But I'm 99% sure if a list like that existed Helios, Tuninter and Flash Air wouldn't been on it before their accidents so that's the use of it in the first place to avoid accidents?
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
backfire
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Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:01 am

RE: Blacklists - Why They Might Be Useless

Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:56 pm

So - the much-anticipated French blacklist is published. And what do we find on it? Four airlines of which almost no-one has heard, and would be unlikely to fly in any case.

How useful.

- Liberia has just emerged from a long-running civil war.

- Mozambique is, according to the UN, one of the world's 50 poorest countries and among the 10 least-livable in terms of quality of life.

- North Korea is an isolated dictatorship whose population has suffered mass starvation while its pitiful excuse for a Government pretends to the rest of the world that life is just peachy.

If you're flying in any of these countries, you don't need any official list to tell you that their airline service is unlikely to be offering you frequent-flyer miles and flat beds in premium class.  Yeah sure

And I'll bet the next major fatal accident won't involve any of these carriers. Which means people will still be asking the same questions next time round.

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