SINGAPORE, 8 June 2023: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to live up to longstanding international treaty obligations to publish timely and thorough aviation accident reports.
Safety is aviation’s highest priority. Failure to publish prompt and complete accident investigation reports deprives operators, equipment manufacturers, regulators, infrastructure providers and other concerned stakeholders of critical information that could make flying even safer.
“The accident investigation process is one of our most important learning tools when building global safety standards. But to learn from an accident, we need reports that are complete, accessible and timely,” said IATA’s director general Willie Walsh.
The requirements of the Convention of International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) Annex 13 are clear. States in charge of an accident investigation must:
Submit a preliminary report to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) within 30 days of the accident.
Publish the final report that is publicly available as soon as possible and within 12 months of the accident.
Publish interim statements annually should a final report not be possible within 12 months.
Only 96 of the 214 accident investigations during 2018-2022 conform with the requirements of the Chicago Convention. Just 31 reports were published within less than one year of the accident, with the majority (58) taking between one to three years. In addition to the fact that final reports regularly take more than a year, interim statements often provide little more than what was presented in the preliminary report.
“Over the past five years, fewer than half of the required accident reports meet the standards for thoroughness and timeliness. This is an inexcusable violation of requirements stated clearly in the Chicago Convention.
“As an industry, we must raise our voice to governments in defence of the accident investigation process enshrined in Annex 13. And we count on ICAO to remind states that the publication of a complete accident report is not optional. It is an obligation under Annex 13 of the Chicago Convention,” said Walsh.