European agencies have identified weaknesses in business aviation operational safety, but say they are working with the European Business Aviation Association and operators to improve the sector´s present and future safety performance.
Level busts, runway incursions, standard instrument departure deviations, communications errors and crew fatigue-related incidents have been identified as areas in which the business aviation sector as a whole do less well than airlines, the UK Civil Aviation Authority´s general aviation flight operations policy manager Chris Finnigan said at the May EBACE business aviation convention in Geneva.
He points out that improvements could flow from better communications between the operators and the regulatory agencies, including the European Aviation Safety Agency and the national aviation authorities, and that they plan single-point contacts at the agencies for the business and general aviation sectors.
Finnigan says there is a perceived lack of interest in the sector by the regulators, and a sense that developments at the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Joint Aviation Authorities are not well communicated to it.
Eric Sivel, EASA´s deputy director of rulemaking at EASA, is in favour of the modern performance and competency-based systems as embodied in training for the multi-crew pilot licence, but says that whenever the agencies try to advance the regulatory case for competency-based training programmes at all levels, pilot organisations and states press for adherence to hours-based training, because "hours are easier to count". Finnigan says there is concern at the inadequate level of system preparation for single-pilot operated very light jets.
Sivel was comprehensively backed up by Capt Robin Pursey, flight operations director at Airbus´s executive and private aviation division, in his advocacy of performance-based training programmes and testing schedules aimed at modern commercial aviation and specific to the type of operation each operator performs and the risks they face.