Continuing its quest to highlight safety issues involved with the Part 135 sector, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is hosting a roundtable in Anchorage on Friday that will focus on flight operations in Alaska. Led by NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt, the roundtable will bring together Alaska-based commercial operators, safety experts, aviation industry associations, FAA officials, and Alaska native tribal leaders in an attempt to delve into ways to bolster safety of Part 135 operations conducted in the region.
Part 135 operations in Alaska were involved in 207 accidents resulting in 80 fatalities between January 2008 and June 2019, the NTSB said, noting Alaska relies heavily on aviation but must deal with unique terrain, challenging weather, and congested airspace.
“The number of Part 135 fatal accidents in Alaska is troubling,” Sumwalt said. “If the FAA and industry do not address these safety gaps, the Part 135 accident rate in Alaska is unlikely to budge. The objective of this roundtable is to reduce that rate by focusing on the proven ways to make these types of flights safer.”
Earlier this year, the NTSB included Part 135 operation in its most recent "Most Wanted" list of safety improvements for the first time. The Safety Board expressed the belief that increased use of safety management systems, flight-data monitoring, and controlled-flight-into-terrain monitoring could improve overall safety.