Accident Investigation – Quo Vadis?

On the 1st of June, the European Parliament’s Transport Committee voted on the Accident Investigation Regulation proposed by the Commission at the end of 2009. All through the parliamentary process, ECA was in close contact with many parliamentarians to make the pilots’ case. Moreover, voting recommendations were produced and actively promoted ahead of the vote to ensure that our views would receive the largest possible support across the political groups.

The EP’s role was good news for aviation safety. On the most crucial points – including the strict independence of the safety investigation from the judicial one and full protection of sensitive data – the Transport Committee followed the ECA’s pro-safety stance. This provided the Parliament with a very strong and unambiguous mandate for the negotiations with the Council of Ministers, who had adopted a very legalistic and pro-criminalisation stance, back in March.

Under the Spanish EU Presidency which was keen to show results quickly in the context of the Spanair crash, many “trilogue” meetings (involving the Commission, Parliament and Council) took place in June to strike a deal at 1st reading stage. Regrettably, it seems the Council has fiercely resisted to the pro-safety stance of the Parliament and insisted on many substantial changes to the EP’s position. Once the results are known in September, it will be time to assess whether aviation safety will be better off with this new Regulation.