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U.S. Department of Transportation Signs Global Safety Information Exchange Agreement

MONTREAL – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today signed an agreement to make flying safer around the globe through the exchange of safety information between the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and international aviation bodies.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed at the 37th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), DOT, the Commission of the European Union, the International Air Transport Association and ICAO will participate in the Global Safety Information Exchange (GSIE).  The aim of the exchange is to  improve civil aviation safety by providing a clearer perspective on existing and emerging areas of risk and increasing the opportunity to identify timely solutions.

“When countries and international organizations each share their information on air safety, they can help make flying safer in all parts of the world,” Secretary LaHood said.  “This agreement shows that the global aviation community is moving forward to share data that will improve aviation safety across borders.”

GSIE will provide a framework for identifying what safety information could be shared, how to communicate it, and the mechanisms for the actual exchange of information. The participants will not exchange confidential or protected information but will focus on findings from broad studies and analyses.

This agreement grew out of a commitment first formed during the ICAO High Level Safety Conference in March, which focused on the need for greater transparency in data sharing.

“The increasing number of flights worldwide requires that we as a global aviation community acquire, share and analyze safety data so that we have more data points to predict and mitigate risk,” said Randy Babbitt, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A steering committee will identify the relevant safety information and determine how the information will be shared.

This agreement builds on the work of the U.S. Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) which, along with new aircraft, regulations and other activities, has reduced the fatality risk for commercial aviation in the United States by 83 percent from 1998 to 2008. CAST is now moving beyond the “historic” approach of examining past accident data to a more proactive approach. The FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program ties together 46 U.S. safety databases across the industry and is integrated into the CAST process. For more information, go to http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/

Tuesday, September 28, 2010