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New Public-Private Partnerships to Increase Aviation Safety

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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 14, 2000

January 14, 2000

The President today will unveil the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), a new public-private partnership to boost aviation safety and protect the millions of Americans who travel by air every year. The partnership, which brings together the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines and employee unions, will encourage better reporting of safety concerns by aviation employees to their employers. ASAP will give the FAA and airlines an important new source of information to prevent safety incidents and will help meet the Administration's goal of reducing commercial aviation accidents by 80 percent by 2007. The President today will be joined by a number of airlines and unions, and he will call on other members of the aviation industry to join this pathbreaking effort.

NEW AVIATION SAFETY ACTION PROGRAM WILL PREVENT ACCIDENTS. Today the President will announce a new Aviation Safety Action Program, which will encourage aviation employees to report safety-related issues and incidents to their employers and to the FAA on an expedited basis. ASAP has three important features: (1) new sources of safety data, (2) new incentives to report safety problems, and (3) the ability to reduce accidents and track problem areas.

  • New Data Sources: Improving air safety depends heavily on the ability to collect and analyze safety data and to use that information to develop safer systems and take corrective actions before accidents occur. Airline employees are sometimes reluctant to report data that might result in the FAA undertaking enforcement action. As a result, important information goes unreported. The ASAP program will provide an important, previously unavailable source of data that will allow information to be captured rapidly and directly from those responsible for the day-to-day safe operation of our aviation system.
  • Incentives To Report Safety Issues: The ASAP program provides incentives to encourage aviation employees to swiftly report safety problems. It protects employees who promptly report problems, while at the same time retaining the FAA’s ability to vigorously prosecute cases involving substance or alcohol abuse, or intentional falsification by aviation employees, and to refer cases of potential criminal activity for prosecution by the Department of Justice. It also preserves the FAA’s ability to take enforcement action in cases where FAA safety inspectors independently become aware of a potential violation.
  • Reducing Accidents and Tracking Problems: The ASAP program will help meet the Administration’s goal of an 80 percent reduction in the commercial aviation accident rate by 2007. It will do so by providing a better look at human performance errors, helping improve man-machine interactions, and making it easier to put user-friendly technology in the cockpit and control towers. It can also lead to better aircraft operating and maintenance procedures, better equipment design, and improved pilot and mechanic training programs.

THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION’S RECORD ON AIRLINE SAFETY. In August 1996, President Clinton established the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, chaired by Vice President Gore. The Commission’s final report set high goals, including reducing the commercial aviation fatal accident rate by 80 percent by 2007 and recommending ASAP programs. Following up on these recommendations, the Vice President launched the Safer Skies agenda in April 1998, which, as an initial step, expanded engine inspections and improved pilots’ warning and detection systems. Today’s announcement is the next step in the FAA’s Safer Skies agenda and only the latest of the Administration's efforts to make air travel safer for all Americans.

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