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Old 12-05-2008, 09:15 AM   #1  
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Default USA Today: Three airlines drop self-reporting safety program

Three airlines drop self-reporting safety program

Several leading safety experts and the FAA's acting chief criticized the companies and unions in recent days, accusing the two sides of letting politics and bargaining get in the way of safety.

By Alan Levin, USA TODAY

Three large airlines have abandoned a safety program credited with helping to lower accident rates, prompting criticism of the airlines and unions by safety advocates and government regulators.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Comair have dropped programs that encourage pilots to come forward and report their own mistakes without fear of being punished. Known as the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), the program has helped airlines and regulators uncover scores of potentially dangerous situations and make fixes before they caused crashes.

ASAP depends on a consensus among pilot unions, airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), any of which can halt the agreement by refusing to participate.

Union leaders have charged that airlines have gone back on their word and unfairly punished pilots who voluntarily disclosed problems.

The airlines insist that they have treated employees fairly.

Several leading safety experts and the FAA's acting chief criticized the companies and unions in recent days, accusing the two sides of letting politics and bargaining get in the way of safety.

"There are at least two sides to every story, but I couldn't care less about either," said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation. "Safety systems do not belong on the bargaining table. There is simply no excuse."

FAA acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell called the breakdown "disheartening," in a speech last week.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said the shutdowns represent a troubling trend. "The relevant players need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that these programs remain active and vital safety tools," Sumwalt said.

American, the first carrier to start ASAP 14 years ago, suspended its program in October after talks with the Allied Pilots Association (APA) broke down.

APA's safety chief, Mike Michaelis, said the program broke down because of a lack of trust. Capt. Billy Nolen, American's flight safety manager, said the company wants to renew a program that has operated for years.

Delta halted its program in November 2006 over disagreements with the Air Line Pilots Association.

Comair, whose pilots are represented by the same union, suspended its ASAP last October.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:30 AM   #2  
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"There are at least two sides to every story, but I couldn't care less about either," said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation. "Safety systems do not belong on the bargaining table. There is simply no excuse."
This guy couldn't work for the FAA. That's exactly how they view safety. Lives lost vs. cost of improvment.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:53 AM   #3  
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Nowhere in the article did it mention ambulance chasing lawyers trying to get their hands on ASAP reports. It's much easier to simply blame the unions.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:18 AM   #4  
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Three large airlines have abandoned a safety program...

...American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Comair...
By what definition can they call post-BK Comair a large airline?
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:49 AM   #5  
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I'm not knowledgable enough on the facts concerning the unions and airlines in this case but I agree with exwaterski here that safety has been comprimised at the hands of the judicial system and the judge who allowed ASAP reports released in a lawsuit.
My community is already having a hard time accepting the ASAP program and I'm sure that this will just add ammunition to those who never believed in it to begin with in the first place.

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Old 12-05-2008, 01:45 PM   #6  
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Nowhere in the article did it mention ambulance chasing lawyers trying to get their hands on ASAP reports. It's much easier to simply blame the unions.
That's what I thought was behind this move. Didn't a few other carriers announce they were looking at dropping the program after that "honorable" bench idiot let the lawyers in the Comair case look at the reports? Too bad there isn't a measure of how many lives have NOT been lost.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:06 PM   #7  
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This is sad and troubling, puts everything into perspective.

I can't believe the airlines went that far, and just to get back at the pilots/unions of all thigs, I don't even know what to say.

How should pilots return the favor?? start the APU at 15,000ft.........

its never going to end (eye for an eye)
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