ECA/AMPL Partnership on Flight Data Monitoring

The Moroccan pilot association AMPL invited ECA to address its Conference on Flight Data Monitoring and Analysis. This is another concrete example of cooperation between two regions with strong historic and cultural links which are also tied, since 2006, by common safety rules thanks to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement on Commercial Air Transport.

When AMPL was approached by Royal Air Maroc managementto jointly develop a FDM protocol, AMPL turned to ECA to benefit from its expertise in this field. On 28th March, a Conference about flight data monitoring and analysis was organised by AMPL, in Casablanca, with Francis Nardy, ECA Executive Board Director, and Loïc Michel, ECA Technical Policy Officer, as speakers. About 40 pilots attended the event, as well as representatives from Royal Air Maroc management, the Moroccan CAA and Moroccan air traffic controllers.

During its presentation, ECA first reminded the Conference attendees that anonymous and non-punitive flight data monitoring is mandatory under EU law (EU OPS 1.037). ECA pointed out the key features of any company’s FDM protocol: Anonymity, non-disclosure of identity (unless as the “very last option” and only after a step-phase process), the neutrality of the safety officer and of his actions, and finally a strict ban on flight data use for the professional evaluation of the crew.

This last principle is paramount as any misuse of the flight data would quickly undermine the pilots’ trust in the system. The consequence would be the stopping of the flow of useful information needed to improve safety. Finally, it was noted that FDM Agreements are an integral part of a Just Culture environment and a component of any robust Safety Management System (SMS).

AMPL is working with Royal Air Maroc to build a FDM protocol with clear rules and roles for each party, i.e. the company management and the pilots’ group. Such a protocol will be a ‘first-time-ever’ for the Moroccan flag carrier – an important step towards a continuous improvement of flight safety which ECA strongly welcomes.