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Addressing safety issues at PIA

Following restrictions on Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) operations in the EU and the US there has been an outpouring of assistance from The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) to address safety and technical issues, in what ISS CEO Dr Adam Fletcher calls a “shining light” in the aviation industry.

In a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, ALPA President Captain Joseph G DePete said the openness and desire to identify issues and implement remedies to restore the good name of Pakistan within the aviation industry is appreciable.

“Aviation safety professionals are extremely generous with sharing knowledge, information and resources, and really this is a positive news story about aviation safety professionals – who are not trying to sell a service or reap commercial gain –but are simply being available to share knowledge and resources and contacts,” Dr Adam says.

Captain Chaudhary Salman at the Pakistan Air Line Pilots Association (PALPA) has welcomed this assistance, writing “You have my commitment to ensure that your leadership is provided with the information you need to address the concerns that you have identified.”

To fully understand the risks in an airline and within the industry, frontline employees must be empowered and have confidence that no retribution will be taken against them for filing a safety report and identifying a safety issue, Salman said.

“It is our experience that approximately 90% of the reports received from flight crew members are “sole source” reports on issues we would not ever know about except through that crew report,” Salman says, adding that there must be a feedback loop to ensure these employees see that their reporting is making a difference.

Dr Adam says that this story is just indicative of the culture of aviation, “it’s a shining light in these times of cost cutting and falling back to minimum compliance. I think that this is well above minimum compliance, even though it is in some ways reactive, because it appears that there have been some safety related issues in Pakistan. What other competitive industries have such open sharing, resources, and guidance when it comes to safety?”

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