BD aviation achieves above average safety oversight rating from ICAO

- A Monitor Special 16 Apr, 2018  |    -      +
Dhaka : The civil aviation in Bangladesh has achie-ved above average safety oversight rating from International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)_ the United Nation body that oversees global aviation.

This is despite the fact, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB)_ the custodian of civil aviation in the country, is beset with hosts of problems including structural inadequacy as well as nearly four-decades old radar.

Disregarding recommendation of Interna-tional Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN agency for civil aviation, the government has already taken unusually long time to take decision on the proposal of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) to upgrade capability of the organisation to keep pace with the global development.

However, recent implementation of some very essential projects has meanwhile, enhanced the technical capabilities of country's civil aviation to some extent, albeit lot more is needed to be done.

Seminar

In the backdrop of fatal and tragic accident of US-Bangla Airline's Dash-8 aircraft at Tribhuvan International Air-port, Kathmandu, Nepal, in which 52 passengers and crew were killed, a seminar on "Safe Aviation: Challenge and Way Forward", was organised by State University of Bangladesh (SUB) brought into fore various aspects of civil aviation of the country including its weaknesses.

Held on March 27, at the Scholars' Inn, the well-attended seminar was presided over by Dr. A. M. Shameem, President, Board of Trustees of SUB, while Prof Rubayat Ferdous moderated the event.

Reaction of ICAO & FAA teams

In reply to some of the criticisms by different discussants, Wing Commander Zia Ul Kabir, Director, Flight Safety and Regulations (DFSR), Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), infor-med the seminar that recently a six-member International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Coordinated Valida-tion Mission (ICVM), visited Bangladesh and found that effective implementation of eight critical elements (CE) of aviation safety oversight has not only improved, but was also above world average.

He disclosed that after ICVM (1) Primary aviation legislation improved to 56.25 per cent from 34.38 per cent; (2) Specific operating regulations improved to 80.00 per cent from 40.00 per cent; (3) State system and functions improved to 77.33 per cent from 36.54 per cent; (4) Qualified technical personnel improved to 73.53 per cent from 20.29 per cent; (5) Technical Guidance, tools and provision of safety-critical information improved to 81.60 per cent from 44.80 per cent; (6) Licensing certification, authorisation and approval obligations im-proved to 83.41 per cent from 74.65 per cent; (7) Surveillance obligations improved to 67.95 per cent from 51.28 per cent; and (8) Resolution of safety issues improved to 35.58 per cent from 17.39 per cent.

After ICVM, Effective Implementation by Area also achieved marked improvement: (1) Primary Aviation Legislation and Specific operating regulation improved to 71.43 per cent from 28.57 per cent; (2) Civil aviation organi_A Monitor Special

Dhaka : The civil aviation in Bangladesh has achie-ved above average safety oversight rating from International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)_ the United Nation body that oversees global aviation.

This is despite the fact, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB)_ the custodian of civil aviation in the country, is beset with hosts of problems including structural inadequacy as well as nearly four-decades old radar.

Disregarding recommendation of Interna-tional Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN agency for civil aviation, the government has already taken unusually long time to take decision on the proposal of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) to upgrade capability of the organisation to keep pace with the global development.

However, recent implementation of some very essential projects has meanwhile, enhanced the technical capabilities of country's civil aviation to some extent, albeit lot more is needed to be done.

Seminar

In the backdrop of fatal and tragic accident of US-Bangla Airline's Dash-8 aircraft at Tribhuvan International Air-port, Kathmandu, Nepal, in which 52 passengers and crew were killed, a seminar on "Safe Aviation: Challenge and Way Forward", was organised by State University of Bangladesh (SUB) brought into fore various aspects of civil aviation of the country including its weaknesses.

Held on March 27, at the Scholars' Inn, the well-attended seminar was presided over by Dr. A. M. Shameem, President, Board of Trustees of SUB, while Prof Rubayat Ferdous moderated the event.

Reaction of ICAO & FAA teams

In reply to some of the criticisms by different discussants, Wing Commander Zia Ul Kabir, Director, Flight Safety and Regulations (DFSR), Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), infor-med the seminar that recently a six-member International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Coordinated Valida-tion Mission (ICVM), visited Bangladesh and found that effective implementation of eight critical elements (CE) of aviation safety oversight has not only improved, but was also above world average.

He disclosed that after ICVM (1) Primary aviation legislation improved to 56.25 per cent from 34.38 per cent; (2) Specific operating regulations improved to 80.00 per cent from 40.00 per cent; (3) State system and functions improved to 77.33 per cent from 36.54 per cent; (4) Qualified technical personnel improved to 73.53 per cent from 20.29 per cent; (5) Technical Guidance, tools and provision of safety-critical information improved to 81.60 per cent from 44.80 per cent; (6) Licensing certification, authorisation and approval obligations im-proved to 83.41 per cent from 74.65 per cent; (7) Surveillance obligations improved to 67.95 per cent from 51.28 per cent; and (8) Resolution of safety issues improved to 35.58 per cent from 17.39 per cent.

After ICVM, Effective Implementation by Area also achieved marked improvement: (1) Primary Aviation Legislation and Specific operating regulation improved to 71.43 per cent from 28.57 per cent; (2) Civil aviation organisation improved to 80.00 per cent from 40.00 per cent; (3) Personnel licensing and training improved to 77.22 per cent from 65.82 per cent; (4) Aircraft operation improved to 84.87 per cent from 80.67 per cent. (5) Airworthiness of aircraft improved to 85.52 per cent from 72.73 per cent; (6) Aircraft accident and incident investigation improved to 64.13 per cent from 03.23 per cent; (7) Air navigation services improved to 73.10 per cent from 35.47 per cent; and (8) Aerodromes and ground aids improved to 65.44 per cent from 54.41 per cent.

Wing Commander Zia said a team of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States was also here from February 12 to 17 and were impressed. Two more teams are scheduled to visit the country following which Bangladesh hope to receive some good news - achieve Category-1 status for Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), he expressed the hope.

The CAAB official reminded all present that the sector is governed in accordance of the Annexes of ICAO. He also added that the sector is changing every day and to keep pace with the changes, "If you are not updated, then you are backdated".

Refuting allegations about poor English of air traffic controllers (ATC) at HSIA - the gateway to Bangladesh by air, Wing Commander Zia said, some 30 foreign airlines operate at HSIA, but CAAB has not received any complaints from any of them regarding the pronunciation of air traffic controllers (ATCs). They communicate with pilots in standard English, he added.

The aviation issues

In the seminar some former pilots and aviation experts were highly critical about the role of CAAB as a regulatory body and accused it of irregularities and failing to overseeing safety measures in private airlines.

They also alleged private carriers of the country for overworking their pilots and cutting corners in terms of safety.

They alleged that CAAB often compromised with safety and maintenance of aircrafts of private airlines in exchange for undue benefits from them.

Captain Wahid, a former pilot of US-Bangla Airlines questioned the quality of pilots graduating from different flying academies.

AFM Nurul Alam, former technical chief of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, said there were allegations that private airlines sometimes put stress on pilots by overwhelming them with work.

Capt SM Helal, former president of Bangladesh Airlines Pilot Association, criticised CAAB for failing to oversee and being negligent in ensuring safety and maintenance of aircraft.

"When any pilot lands in Hong Kong, London or Singapore airport, they fear that the civil aviation authorities of those countries would issue a warning for their shortcomings," Capt Helal said and added "But in the last 29 years, no CAAB inspector checked my records or logbooks after landing in Dhaka."

He also criticised ATC officials for lack of skills in communicating with pilots in English.

Zannat Eva, a former pilot of United Airlines, also alleged poor communication skills of the air traffic controller.

Veteran pilot Alamgir Sattar said CAAB needs to become stricter in ensuring fitness of aircraft, pilots, and crew members in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rules and regulations.

Muhammad Masud Chow-dhury, an expert in aviation and international communication, said CAAB should never compromise with issuing certificate of airworthiness.

US-Bangla Airlines CEO Imran Asif refuted the allegations that airlines put pressure on pilots and crew members to work violating the ICAO rules. He said his airlines went by the CAAB and ICAO books.

Samanta Lal Sen, chief national coordinator for plastic surgery and all burn projects in Bangladesh, stressed the need for forming a disaster management committee and plan ahead for such accidents.

Dr. MA Momen, formar MD, Bangladesh Biman stressed the need for good relationship amongst all working in aviation industry for better coordination and better functioning.

There are well laid out procedures for operating flights and maintaining aircrafts and there cannot be any short cuts.

Kazi Wahidul Alam, Editor, The Bangladesh Monitor, said since 1984 our skies are safe, but there is no room for complacency. We have to take lessons from the TIA accident.

The airlines must have crisis management committees, he suggested and said US-Bangla Airlines' management handled it aptly.

Giving the example of a Middle Eastern airline, he said, the airline has crisis management committees even in the destinations it operates to. Crisis management guidelines are updated every three months and mock 'crisis' situations are simulated at regular intervals at the outstations as well as headquarters and results of those are assessed.

He regretted that there was no statement from any government agency, or CAAB to hang a list of passengers (after the TIA incident). Only they can say why they did not hang it up, he said.

Dr Nawzia Yasmin, Head of the Department of Public Health, SUB, said we should be very careful in handling the mental trauma of the survivors and the relatives of those who died. Psychological support is also needed for them.

Syed Ishtiaque Reza, Director News, Ekattor TV said at present three private airlines are struggling to survive and called for government policies conducive to their growth.

Call for formation of a national crisis committee for handling aviation emergency situations was made at the seminar.

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