Should airlines cut back on safety costs?

Decline in fatal air crashes raises other safety issues

It has been 44 months since the last deadly airline crash in the United States, making this the longest period without a fatal domestic accident since the expansion of commercial aviation after World War II. This is good news, of course, but it also raises the question of whether airlines should be spending so much on safety in an economically fragile environment, the newswire AP writes.
Faced with reports that tired pilots were occasionally making mistakes, in 2011 the FAA revised its rules on pilot work schedules and rest periods. But the agency did not extend the new rules to cargo carriers, saying that this would have cost the cargo industry $300 million over 10 years.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said cargo executives could comply voluntarily, although none have so far done so.
“We’re doing rulemaking in a system that is very, very safe,” he said in a recent interview. “Sometimes it does get to be difficult to produce the cost justification for the kinds of rules that we’re promoting.”
[pictured: Trent-900 fan blade; courtesy Qantas]

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