After investigating four accident flights operated under code-sharing arrangements in the past three years, the NTSB will hold a two-day symposium on October 26 to 27 on such agreements between regional airlines and major carriers.
“We have investigated many accidents in which passengers bought tickets on a major carrier and flew all or part of their trip on a different carrier–one that may have been operating to different safety standards than the carrier that issued the ticket,” said NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman.
According to the Safety Board, most airlines participate in some type of code-sharing program, whereby one airline places its designator code on a flight operated by another airline, then sells and issues tickets for that flight. A recent example of an accident involving a code-sharing flight was the February 2009 crash near Buffalo, N.Y., in which a Colgan Air flight was operated as a Continental Connection.
More than half of passenger enplanements in the U.S. this year are on regional airlines, almost all of which are involved in code-sharing arrangements. “In the past 20 years, code-sharing arrangements have so proliferated within commercial aviation that today the vast majority of airlines are involved in what are often complex business and operational arrangements,” Hersman said. “While all carriers are required to meet minimum standards, a clearer picture and deeper understanding of the best safety practices for code-sharing arrangements are the goals of this symposium.”
The symposium, “Airline Code-Sharing Arrangements and Their Role in Aviation Safety,” will be in the NTSB Board Room and Conference Center in Washington, D.C.