Aviation: safety in the balance?

The UK Court of Appeal has upheld an earlier High Court decision allowing reports produced by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch to be submitted in evidence. This decision has potentially significant ramifications for those involved in the aviation industry both in the UK and internationally and may, ultimately, have a negative effect on aviation safety.

If an aircraft is involved in an accident or incident, it is unsurprising that all concerned, and others, want to know what went wrong.

Where aviation accidents or serious incidents occur in the UK (or its overseas territories), they will be investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), a part of the UK Department for Transport. The AAIB’s invaluable work is carried out by one or more of its inspectors, who are all highly qualified and experienced in a range of relevant fields such as operations, engineering, avionics and/or flight data analysis. They have a number of wide-ranging powers, including free access to the accident site, aircraft and wreckage and all relevant evidence such as medical examinations, flight recorders and aircraft/pilot records, together with the right to examine witnesses…

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