Social media new x-factor in safety investigations, IATA chief says
One of the unexpected lessons from the apparently intentional crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 was how quickly social media can influence policy-makers charged with making changes.
“We are nowadays in a world where communication is extremely rapid with direct communication,” Tony Tyler, CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said Thursday. “Airlines almost are seeing things on their television screens … quicker than their internal systems are able to communicate with them.”
In the case of the Germanwings flight, word got out so quickly that the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit when he apparently decided to crash the plane that many called for new government requirements to ensure that two pilots are in all cockpits all of the time. While he didn’t disagree with that requirement, Tyler said it’s also important to continue relying on the slower, more-detailed accident reports that have guided the industry for decades.
“We have to make sure that we don’t lose the benefits of the enormously rigorous and thorough approach that the industry’s had towards investigation of root causes of accidents, even as governments are pressed by political imperatives into quick action and almost instant response to these terrible things that occasionally happen,” he said.