FSF Calls for Multinational Safety Probes

 - March 18, 2010, 11:44 AM

Citing ongoing criminal prosecution of Continental Airlines for the 2000 Concorde crash in Paris, the U.S.-based Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) is asking governments worldwide to form multinational, independent air accident investigation boards. The foundation has called upon an upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization “high level safety conference”–March 29 to April 1 in Montreal–to convene a group of legal experts “to urgently provide better protection of sources of safety information, including protection of witness statements and admissions of error against criminal prosecution, except in the most egregious of cases involving willful misconduct, drug or alcohol abuse or falsification.” Last week, the European Commission’s Council of Ministers urged creation of a “network of national state investigation authorities,” but the FSF said that would be “woefully inadequate” to meet the urgent problems of disparate investigating capacity and expertise; tensions between safety investigators and judicial authorities; the unclear role of civil aviation authorities in safety investigations; unacceptable weaknesses in implementation of safety recommendations; and lack of common standards on passenger manifest and family assistance.