- September 23, 2010, 7:46 AM

The FAA will for the first time integrate voluntary safety information collected from pilots under the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) and from air traffic controllers under the Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP), the agency announced yesterday. United Airlines and its pilots have signed the first agreement to participate in a demonstration program. The agency said it expects to sign similar agreements with other carriers in the future.


“This revolutionary program will give us an incredible amount of data that will help us find problems, make corrections and avoid incidents,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “I applaud air traffic controllers, pilots and airlines for their dedication to keeping our aviation system as safe as possible.”


According to the FAA, the program will develop processes and policies to share and analyze relevant safety information in a non-punitive way, consistent with the basic principles of safety management systems. 


Today, 73 air carriers participate in 169 ASAP programs for pilots, mechanics, flight attendants and dispatchers. However, not all employee groups believe the program has worked as intended. For example, Comair’s mechanics withdrew from their ASAP program this summer after employees complained that management had, in fact, used the voluntary reports as a basis for punitive action.