The UK aviation industry has an enviable record on safety which has improved dramatically over the last 40 years. This has been in part due to the CAA’s promoting of a ‘Just Culture’ and the leaders of airlines taking a personal and actively positive view of Safety through participation of their employees in reporting safety-related matters in the clear knowledge that they should not be the target of disciplinary proceedings. 

The concern over delays being incurred are always forefront in the crews’, particularly the Captain’s, minds and as a result of this they will do their utmost to safely depart on time – after all, time really is money in the airline industry! As a result of this frame of mind decisions to delay are never taken lightly and are always a source of frustration for the airline employees trying to do what they are paid to do. 

However, in the interests of Flight Safety, if the aircraft has a technical problem and should not fly, then the decision to do so should not be open to debate. 

 ‘Press-on-itis’ has become a thing of the past. 

One has to wonder, however, if the latest judgement on compensation payments for aircraft technical delays has been rationally and properly considered. Given the commercial realities of running an airline, pressure on margins and on time performance, and the way it works, particularly in the low-cost sector, is to keep the aircraft in the air, and reduce ground time to the minimum. Add to this the spectre of hundreds of passengers making compensation claims for technical delays then you have a potential situation that could drag the industry to its knees. 

 These pressures could also result in judgements made incorrectly for the wrong reasons. 

Meaning it could also possibly lead to some crews making a ‘go’ decision that they would never have considered under other circumstances. 

 After years of great work in developing and promoting safety in the industry, there is now the very real and serious risk of possibly taking a giant leap backwards in on the basis of economic viability in the airlines. It must be virtually impossible to insure against delays and claims like this. 

The less reputable airlines will gain little sympathy from the courts or travelling public if they are at fault, but the ones who are really trying hard should not be penalised for unforeseen or unexpected component failures. 

This latest judgement is less than helpful.

Request the full White Paper looking at this subject entitled: Technical Delays Compensation - Subtle Effect on Airline Safety.