The aviation community grieves the tragic loss of lives aboard Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 on 22 May 2020. Our thoughts are with the families of those lost and the survivors who may still have a long road to recovery. We are extending our support to our Pakistani colleagues for whom this is undoubtedly a traumatic experience.
The air transport industry is a complex system made up of people, procedures, and technology that interact to create the safest way to travel. The few accidents that occur are always a consequence of multiple factors, which combine in unprecedented ways to push a safe system over the edge towards a breakdown.
In order to learn from accidents and prevent recurrence, international ogranisations the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) would like to emphasise that the technical safety investigation by the accident investigation authority must be conducted according to the international standards on accident investigation. As stated clearly in Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention:
“The sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability.”
Such investigation should not be impeded or influenced by administrative, disciplinary, or judicial proceedings that would apportion blame or criminal liability.
Whilst the investigation is ongoing, there should be no disclosure of the accident evidence other than the basic factual information usually included in a Preliminary Report. None of the actual recordings should be made available for purposes other than the technical safety investigation.
There should also not be premature conclusions, which are often based on incomplete, inaccurate and/or speculative information and which focus on one aspect of what happened. Premature conclusions hamper the ability to learn from these tragic events and could be unfair to one or more of the parties concerned. We urge the media, the public, and the concerned stakeholders to respect the long-established processes and procedures for analysing these events and let the accident investigation authorities perform their investigations professionally and objectively.
IFALPA and IFATCA will monitor the investigation closely to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with the principles described above. We will support all efforts to prevent the recurrence of accidents.