Ten years after the Concorde crash in Paris, what lessons have been learnt from the tragedy? Euronews’ Anne Devineaux spoke to Bernard Bourdon from the European Aviation Safety Agency based in Cologne in Germany.
Anne Devineaux: “The investigation highlighted numerous gaps in terms of the planes maintenance – for the Air France Concorde and also for the Continental DC10. Have we learned lessons from the crash?”
Bernard Bourdon: “Yes, absolutely. In terms of organisation, we have significantly changed the responsibility of different organisations. This means that a maintenance organisation now has to be approved. Every organisation in charge of maintenance, or in charge of providing public transport, must have structures in place to manage the risks, identify them, inform people and after that, of course, correct them. So it’s really a process of quality control, which we developed from the 90s onwards, and which we continue to develop, and which is now working.”
Anne Devineaux: “During the trial, there was some strong criticism about the way in which this inquiry was handled, a lack of independent experts, lack of transparency. What do you think about that?”
Bernard Bourdon: “We have now gone from a system of management that was based on the participation of states to a transfer of responsibilities. This transfer of responsibility has an enormous advantage. It means that one European agency such as the EASA can be controlled by the commission, typically, by the parliament, and we have a duty to be transparent about our activities in front of the member states. When it comes to information, I think what has changed significantly after the Concorde crash is the speed with which information is shared. This means that if you don’t talk publicly about an inquiry, the media and different information sources such as the internet are going to be quicker at spreading information. So it’s imperative to communicate.
Anne Devineaux: “Can we say that European skies are safer today than they were 10 years ago?”
Bernard Bourdon: “Well we still have enormous growth in terms of traffic, even if there’s been a crisis. So we’re managing to stabilise things without any problem in terms of the growing number of planes that fly in European airspace, the number of accidents. This means that progress in terms of security is evident. The progress is perpetual, it’s permanent, as we have technological evolution. We have more and more security in the planes, from technical developments to a better system of information, as well as better international organisation. We see this especially in Europe with a group of countries who are directing their best efforts towards a common organisation.