Sunday, April 8, 2012

Canada: Auditor General Finds Airline Inspections to be Remiss

According to a Reuters report, Canadian Auditor General Michael Ferguson acknowledged that while transport regulations require all airliners to inspect their aircraft annually, only 70% underwent such evaluations during the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Consequently, Ferguson's conclusion is that this could result in major airworthiness flaws being overlooked.

There are more than 34,000 aircraft in Canada and a total of more than 5,000 air carriers, maintenance firms, airports and aerodromes. In 2010 more than 75 million passengers flew within the borders of Canada, the world's second largest country, geographically speaking.

In 2009 and 2010, the total number of accidents was the lowest recorded in a 10-year span in Canada. The last serious accident occurred in August 2011 when a First Air jet crashed in the northern Arctic, killing 12 people.

COMMENT: Anticipating that air traffic could double in the years ahead, Mr. Ferguson said on Tuesday (April 3) that this increase in flights could lead to more accidents.

The Canadian government recognizes that it will have to do more just to keep the accident rate per revenue-generating passenger mile traveled in Canada at current levels.

Transport Minister Denis Lebel, while noting Canada's good safety record, said he had ordered his department to address the problems identified in the report.

Ferguson also found that Transport Canada overestimated the time inspectors had to carry out surveillance work and did not have accurate records of what the inspectors were doing.

It should be noted that Canada has one of the safest airline records in the world and is taking action to ensure 100% of all commercial airliners are inspected annually.

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