By David Cass
Representatives of international airlines have been praising the development of a new safety initiative by Dubai's Emirates airline, which focusses on preventing accidents by monitoring normal operating procedures
Representatives of international airlines have been praising the development of a new safety initiative by Dubai's Emirates airline, which focusses on preventing accidents by monitoring normal operating procedures rather than only looking back and learning from accidents which have already happened. Airlines, authorities and aircraft manufacturers from Europe, Asia and Africa were all represented at the third Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) conference sponsored by Dubai’s award-winning Emirates airline.LOSA is a new airline safety initiative involving the detailed study of normal flights by trained observers on the flight deck. ICAO is promoting greater use of LOSA, which was inspired by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and developed by members of the University of Texas Human Factors Department.In a move to validate safety training now undertaken by pilots, specially-trained observers travel in the cockpit during normal flights and report back what they see. The reports are analysed in detail at the University of Texas.Emirates’ Captain Peter Greenfield, CRM Manager, says: “Until now, airline safety tools have looked at incidents only after they have happened – which means looking backwards. “In contrast, LOSA looks forwards. By studying normal, uneventful flights in depth, the audit helps to identify weaknesses in an airline's procedures and help prevent accidents from happening.”Airlines from the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) and others serving the region, including Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Delta, attended the seminar with representatives from regulatory bodies including the Gulf Civil Aviation Authority. They heard from Capt Daniel Maurino of ICAO, Prof Robert Helmreich of the University of Texas and delegates from airlines using LOSA. Presentations included an abbreviated observer training session and a walk-through of a typical observation flight.Capt Maurino said later: ” It was one of the best events I’ve ever attended. If I ever dream about the ideal conference, it would be close to this one. Beyond its wonderful organisation and venue, and flawless technical programme, what truly amazed me was the sustained attention from start to finish.”Brian Greeves, from the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations, said it was ‘a family affair which gets better and draws more disciples each time. I think we have even more converts on the way.’ Jill Sladen, from IATA, said: “There is a strong buzz following LOSA week -- the momentum is building!”Captain Chris Knowles, Emirates’ Head of Flight Operations, said the airline is planning a full LOSA next May, helping to spread knowledge of the system throughout the Middle East region.