Is Canada headed for a major airline disaster? Apparently the odds of a major aviation accident in our country are worsening.
Cuts to Transport Canada have been eating away at its civil aviation flying program, according to the Canadian Federal Pilots Association, leading 81 per cent of licensed pilots surveyed to conclude that a “major aviation accident in the near future is likely.”
“Having aviation inspectors who do not know how to fly the aircraft that they’re inspecting, is like having a traffic cop who doesn’t know how to drive a car,” said Greg McConnell, national chair of the CFPA, which commissioned the survey by Abacus Data.
The association also blamed a new federal system that it says has left inspectors spending most of their time in offices reviewing paperwork, rather than being out in the field doing active inspections, and warned airports won't be subject to full safety assessments.
The number of aircraft used in training has dropped as well, from 42 aircraft to 14 in this time period.
The department suffered several rounds of full-time equivalent job cuts during the Harper government, losing over 100 positions between 2009-10 and 2014-15.
I have trouble buying the claim that aviation inspectors need to be pilots, that they need to know how to fly the aircraft they're inspecting. After all, the people who keep these aircraft in the sky, the ground crew, the mechanics, engine techs and such aren't likely to know how to fly the aircraft they work on nor would anyone expect that of them.
Still, if 81% of licensed pilots believe a major aviation accident in Canada in the near future is "likely" something probably should be done about that.