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Air France acts on Independent Safety Review Team recommendations
9 February 2011

Air France has acknowledged the recommendations on flight safety in a report submitted by the Independent Safety Review Team.

Set up in December 2009, the independent safety review on flight safety comprised eight acknowledged independent experts of international standing chosen to combine French and Anglo-Saxon mindsets. The review team looked into all the internal operating modes, decision-making processes and practices that might have an impact on the safety of Air France flights, by combining a systematic viewpoint on safety with practical experience in running operations at airlines comparable in size to Air France. On this basis, following an inquiry that ran throughout 2010, the experts made proposals that will serve as drivers for our continuous safety improvement process.

The independent safety review’s work mainly focused on listening to employees’ accounts and observing the airline’s operating methods. These observations were analysed by the safety review team’s eight experts: safety systems and safety management in aeronautical sectors or other sectors, “resilience” of the organisations and human factors. The findings primarily concern the Company’s organisation, its corporate culture and the individual behaviour of its staff, managers and unions.

The safety review team presented 35 recommendations with a view to helping the airline pursue its ongoing flight safety improvement process.

According to Aviation Week, the ISRT found amongst others that Air France’s safety governance structure is “overly complex, leading to an overlap and blurring of the lines of responsibility.” Stating that the airline needs to change the “governance arrangements starting at the top,” the panel recommends the introduction of a board subcommittee for safety. Also, the review found that in many departments the safety culture is mainly event-driven, being reactive where it should be proactive.

Air France has already implemented the preliminary recommendations of the independent safety review such as the creation of the Flight Safety Committee within the Air France Board of Directors and the launch of an in-flight observations campaign, the LOSA (Line Operations Safety Audit), following the example of other airlines in the U.S., Asia and Australia, implemented for the first time by a major European airline.

Most of the recommendations will be rapidly implemented in line with a schedule to be defined shortly and monitored in the groups concerned. The adaptation, postponing or non-acknowledgement of any of these proposals will be subject to discussion and validation by these groups.

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