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Sharing Information To Make Air Travel Safer

An agreement has been reached by airlines, unions and the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the need to share information with the National Transportation Safety Board. These groups have announced the decision to share more information about mistakes and safety failures with the NTSB in an effort to prevent aviation accidents. The NTSB will use that information to identify ongoing problems and give feedback about methods to improve aviation safety in the future. The NTSB is responsible for investigating aviation accidents throughout the United States.

The FAA touted the benefits of information sharing. In 2007, the FAA joined with the airlines and unions in making it easier and safer for the individuals involved in safety incidents to share information. The FAA has a standing policy to not punish air traffic controllers involved in safety breakdowns. By removing the threat of punishment and instead focusing on training opportunities, the FAA is attempting to encourage the open flow of information. The FAA credited improved communication for several advances in aviation safety, including a reduction in runway mishaps gained through new taxiing standards, and a reduction in planes using incorrect runways that was attributed to new training and rules meant to reduce air traffic controller fatigue.

Enhanced information sharing was credited by the FAA as a major contributor to the overall improved in aviation safety. According to the FAA, the fatality risk in the commercial aviation industry dropped by 83 percent from 1998 to 2008.

Source: USA Today, "Airlines, agencies to share more information on flight mishaps," by Bart F. Jansen, 8 November 2012

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