Collaboration between States and aviation industry stakeholders, including airlines and other aircraft operators, civil aviation authorities, air navigation service providers (ANSPs), repair stations, ground service providers and aerodromes, is an important element of continuously improving global aviation safety performance. Collaboration includes safety data collection and processing systems (SDCPSs) and safety data and information sharing programmes in which stakeholders work together under carefully defined data de-identification protocols to identify risks, develop and implement mitigation programmes, and monitor mitigation effectiveness.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 19, Safety Management, requires states to implement state safety programmes (SSPs) and operators and other service providers to implement safety management systems (SMSs). As part of that process, ICAO advocates for the sharing of safety information among numerous stakeholders.
In the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) 2017–2019, ICAO says: “The transition to an SSP requires increased collaboration across operational domains to identify hazards and manage risks. The analysis of various forms of safety data is needed to develop effective mitigation strategies specific to each state or region. This requires ICAO, States and international organizations to work closely together on safety risk management. In addition, collaborative efforts between key stakeholders, including service providers and regulatory authorities, are essential to the achievement of safety performance targets established through a State’s SSP or a service provider’s SMS. Through partnerships with such key stakeholders at national and regional levels, safety data should be analysed to support maintenance of performance indicators related to the risks and the major components of the aviation system. Key stakeholders should reach agreements to identify appropriate indicators, determine common classification schemes and establish analysis methodologies that facilitate the sharing and exchange of safety information” (emphasis added).
In outlining the role of industry in improving safety, the GASP says: “Industry should progress in SMS implementation and work in a complementary manner with ICAO, the regions and individual states on safety information exchange, safety monitoring and auditing programmes” (emphasis added).
A critical element of safety information sharing programmes is the protection of safety information sources.
The following are examples of existing government-industry partnerships.
At the international regional level ICAO’s Regional Aviation Safety Groups (RASGs) serve as a regional cooperative forum integrating global, regional, sub-regional, national and industry efforts in continuing to enhance aviation safety. RASGs develop and implement work programmes that support a regional performance framework for the management of safety on the basis of GASP. RASGs build on the work already done by states, and other sub-regional entities.
The following RASGs have been established:
- Regional Aviation Safety Group – Europe (RASG-EUR);
- Regional Aviation Safety Group – Asia Pacific (RASG-APAC);
- Regional Aviation Safety Group – Africa (RASG-AFI);
- Regional Aviation Safety Group – Middle East (RASG-MID); and,
- Regional Aviation Safety Group – Pan America (RASG-PA).
One of the longest running and, arguably, most successful government/industry partnership is the U.S. Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), which was established in 1997. CAST’s initial goal was to reduce the commercial aviation fatality risk in the United States by 80 percent from 1998 to 2008. By 2008, CAST was able to report that by implementing the most promising safety enhancements, the fatality risk of commercial air travel in the United States was reduced by 83 percent. CAST’s goal over the next decade is to transition to prognostic safety analysis. CAST aims to reduce the remaining U.S. commercial fatality risk by 50 percent from 2010 to 2025 and to continue to work with our international partners to reduce fatality risk in worldwide commercial aviation.
The Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing Program (ASIAS) connects a wide variety of safety data and information sources across government and industry, including voluntarily provided safety data. ASIAS works closely with CAST and the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) to monitor known risk, evaluate the effectiveness of deployed mitigations, and detect emerging risk. ASIAS currently has nearly 50 large airline members, as well as participation by dozens of business aviation operators, universities, manufacturers and repair stations.
Data4Safety (D4S) is a data collection and analysis programme that aims at collecting and gathering data that support the management of safety risks at the European level. This includes, but is not limited to, safety reports (or occurrence reports), flight data (i.e., data generated by the aircraft via the flight data recorders), surveillance data and weather data.
The programme is intended to allow stakeholders to better identify risks, determine the nature of these risks, and verify whether safety actions or mitigations are delivering the needed level of safety. The programme also aims to develop the capability of discovering vulnerabilities in the system across terabytes of data.
D4S is, in essence, a collaborative partnership programme, or a public-private partnership between public bodies like the European Union Aviation Safety Agency or national aviation authorities and the private sector (e.g., airlines and manufacturers) that aims at inferring safety intelligence.
This is done by organising a massive collection of safety data and organising the analytical capacity amongst all European aviation safety system stakeholders. D4S is currently in the proof-of-concept phase, which involves a limited number of stakeholders and is intended to confirm the expected benefits while testing the programme’s technical and governance models. D4S is expected to enter its operational phase in 2020.
This article will be updated with details on more programmes as information becomes available.