IFALPA to Brazil: Don’t Criminalize Midair Collision

 - October 16, 2007, 12:10 PM

The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) late last week called on the Brazilian government “to return to agreed international standards and principles in the investigation” of the midair collision of a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800 and an ExcelAire Embraer Legacy 600. The September 2006 accident, which killed all 154 aboard the airliner, focused attention on Brazil’s air transport system, as well as the Legacy’s American pilots–Joe Leopore and Jan Paladino. In the letter to Brazilian authorities, IFALPA said it has “serious concerns” about the government’s indictment and possible criminal prosecution of the Legacy pilots and air traffic controllers. The pilot group is also disturbed that the legislative inquiry and federal police investigation have been conducted before CENIPA, Brazil’s safety board, could publish its independent technical investigation. Accordingly, IFALPA wants the Brazilian government to suspend the legislative inquiry and the Justice Ministry to adjourn criminal proceedings. Instead, IFALPA said, Brazil should focus on applying “any lessons and recommendations made in the [forthcoming] CENIPA report that will improve air safety.”