Pilots Press Spanish CAA over Safety Inspections

Spanish pilots and airlines are concerned about the country's civil aviation administration's track record, criticizing that it has not reached its goal in providing the necessary safety inspections. The Spanish Council of Ministers is reported to have recognised that the work done by the Spanish CAA in the last years has not been sufficient.

Last month, the Council of Ministers approved a special budget of €18 million for the Spanish CAA. This is definitely a good start and will help to publicise for safety issues. However, it will only allow for hiring some new staff at the CAA and will not deal with the real problem: the structure. What is missing is an efficient administrative and staffing structure acting in the interest of the citizens.

The Spanish pilot association SEPLA is concerned that, despite the series of accidents in August, things remain the same with little perspective of change. This means that Spain will continue to lack the practical ability to enforce its own and international safety regulations. SEPLA believes the European authorities should urgently get involved and send a clear message to the Spanish Government that this is not a European standard.

While IFALPA argues for international efforts to enhance safety oversight and implementation of existing rules, several European countries have recently published "blacklisted" airlines which have been found not to comply with international safety regulations. SEPLA supports this initiative. SEPLA also believes that companies which are investing positively in safety should be rewarded. When a company has been put on a black list, this company would disappear from the reservation system and thus would not be available to the customer anymore. However, a better solution would be to mirror the European hotel ranking system (stars), giving the passenger the right to know from the very beginning what kind of product he is purchasing.

SEPLA has been carrying out an intensive campaign on the problem with the Spanish CAA during the last months. The campaign consisted of some 200 media actions (press releases, radio and TV interviews and debates), four dedicated meetings with CAA authorities and State Secretary of Transport. Lately, SEPLA has done lobbying vis-à-vis the Spanish Members of European Parliament. And the work still continues.

ECA believes that the Spanish situation clearly demonstrates how important it is that pilots at national level actively promote the safety agenda. They must push for safety inspections and sufficient resources to be attributed to such activities.