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Published on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Engineers warn of repeat of AirAsia crash

Aircraft engineers are warning that another flight will crash because the aviation industry isn't learning from past mistakes.

They claim that airlines are more concerned with making money than improving passenger safety.

Aircraft Engineers International, which represents 40,000 aircraft engineers in 30 countries, said that without 'significant' changes in attitude and commitment from CEOs and regulators on a global level, there will be more crashes.

It claims the AirAsia tragedy on December 28 last year was 'completely avoidable' yet airlines had failed to learn lessons from two previous accidents: the crash of a Spanair flight in 2008 and a Turkish Airlines crash in 2009.

Air Asia flight QZ8501 crashed into the sea en route from Indonesia to Singapore. Investigators found the accident was caused by a combination of a faulty rudder system and pilot error.

When the pilots received repeated warning messages of the fault from the onboard computer system, they reset the system, accidentally turning off the autopilot and they lost control of the plane.

Investigators found that the malfunction had occurred 23 times in the previous 12 months.

In a statement, Aircraft Engineers International said: "The public must be made aware that aviation today is driven by cost. Cost, not safety, is paramount.

"Pilots and Engineers are often placed under increasing pressure to accept second best, in order to ensure aircraft meet unrealistic flight schedules. The consequences of which are more incidents and ultimately more avoidable accidents.

"With training of pilots and engineers often the bare minimum, spares and manpower levels reduced to unacceptable levels, although workloads increase, the working life of these safety professionals has become centred on lowering costs. The lessons to be learnt from this and other avoidable accidents is, that it is now time for the industry to listen and properly support safety professionals trying to keep flying safe."

It called for a number of measures to be implemented including improved and increased training 'at all levels' within the industry, governments to invest in regulators to ensure effective oversight and a new culture where the responsibilities of pilots and engineers licences can be property exercised 'free from reprisal'.

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