THE pilots and European cabin crew are convinced that the flight safety is no longer the main concern of theEuropean Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) and certain players in the sector. In a new documentary captivating, aviation professionals express their fears and deep disappointment with the state of aviation safety in Europe.
The documentary paints a disturbing picture of EASAwhich would be unduly influenced by the economic pressures industry players. The Agency’s failure to address safety concerns and its dismissive attitude toward scientific studies have eroded the confidence of aviation workers. The European Commission, responsible for overseeing the EASA, has also quietly retreated from its responsibility and accountability. This thought-provoking documentary from Dutch broadcaster BNNVARA highlights alarming practices within the aviation industry, raising significant doubts about the safety of European air transport.
The President of the CEA, Captain. Otjan de Bruijn highlights the tragic lack of judgment of the EASA: “Scientific studies from renowned institutions such as the London School of Economics, Ghent University (Belgium) and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, systematically highlighting the impact of job insecurity on flight safety, were unfairly rejected. EASA’s refusal to acknowledge these findings raises serious questions about its commitment to safety. »
Studies reveal a frightening reality: non-traditional employment practices are undermining safety decision-making in European cockpits. The pilots atypically employed are less likely to express safety concerns, more likely to take risks, to steal while sick or tired and lack confidence in safety reporting processes. The Agency’s dismissive attitude has allowed a culture of fear and intimidation to flourish in the industry, making it more difficult to report safety concerns and putting business interests ahead of safety.
“Unfortunately, I think we can speak of a widespread culture of fear and intimidation within European aviation”declared the deputy general secretary of the ECA, Ignacio Plaza. “A few outspoken industry leaders created this culture and EASA was the silent partner that enabled it with its passive attitude to safety issues. Pilots do not report or speak up, safety issues remain hidden. Many of those who dare face disciplinary action and retaliation. All of this could end very badly one day because the entire air safety chain is simply broken. »
The documentary also questions the role of European Commission and its responsibility to ensure the safety of European passengers. Despite repeated calls and studies highlighting urgent problems, the Commission has failed to resolve the problem of fake self-employment in aviation, leaving pilots and cabin crew vulnerable. The recent rejection of the revision of Regulation 1008/2008 highlights the Commission’s apathy towards the concerns of aircrew in general. Additionally, the European Commission is supposed to supervise the EASA and ensure that the agency is independent of commercial interests.
“The absence of the Transport Commissioner in the documentary speaks volumes, reflecting her typical approach to aviation issues throughout her tenure”said ECA President Otjan de Bruijn. “As his term ends soon, urgent attention is needed to address the aviation industry’s persistent challenges. It is clear that EASA and the European Commission must do some serious soul-searching and assume their responsibilities, ensuring passenger safety without compromise.”
Broadcast in October 2023, the documentary “Omerta Above the Clouds” by Dutch television creators Bart Nijpels and Jan Salden delves into the heart of the aviation industry. Through interviews with decision-makers, scientists, authorities, airlines, pilots, cabin crew and pilot and cabin crew associations, the documentary reveals a global vision of the current state of the industry. He explores the social challenges persistent in the cockpit and cabin. The film critically examines efforts to combat these issues, raising critical questions about eradicating social misconduct and security monitoring in European airspace.
To watch the documentary (47 mins), click here or on the photo.