Database to rate airline safety for travelers

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The Independent Travel

The International Civil Aviation Organization pressed Thursday for a new safety data sharing system to help reduce aircraft accidents worldwide and give travelers better information on carriers' safety records.

At the close of four-day talks, more than 600 ministers and civil aviation directors general from 150 member countries as well as industry representatives recommended that the UN aviation agency "create a global safety information exchange to enable analysis of key safety indicators," said a statement.

They further recommended that travelers be granted access to the database in order to make "informed decisions" about flying with airlines with dubious safety histories.

"We have traditionally focused our efforts on accident reports as a means to improve safety. This new approach will help us to better identify and deal with safety threats before they result in accidents," said ICAO council president Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez.

"Regulators and industry must come to manage safety-critical information in the same way that they view accidents. Both must become triggers for action in preventing accidents," he added.

The registry is to be developed by the ICAO, the US Federal Aviation Administration, the Commission of the European Union and the International Air Transport Association.

The ICAO members also called for technical enhancements to improve the ability to locate and recover black boxes after an airplane crash, such as "longer time periods for signals, better resistance to crashes and floatability."

As well, states and industry were urged to improve surveillance of flights over oceanic and remote areas.