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Asiana Airlines’ new safety chief stresses preemptive action

Asiana Airlines’ new safety chief stresses preemptive action

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Published : 2013-12-04 20:02
Updated : 2013-12-04 20:02

Asiana Airlines’ new chief safety officer, Akiyoshi Yamamura, on Wednesday stressed preemptive actions to prevent fatal accidents such as the air carrier’s crash-landing in July, hinting at a large-scale review of existing risk-monitoring systems.

During his first media meeting at the company’s Seoul headquarters, the senior executive vice president who oversees Asiana’s recently elevated safety and security management division, compared aviation accidents to catching a cold: “There are some early symptoms before an accident occurs.

“Building strong monitoring systems that can detect the symptoms is crucial to strengthening safety overall,” he added. 

Asiana Airlines’ new chief safety officer, Akiyoshi Yamamura, speaks at a press meeting at the company’s headquarters in western Seoul on Wednesday. (Asiana Airlines)
The former safety specialist at Japan’s All Nippon Airways, where he worked for 42 years, said the division would be focusing on figuring out fundamental problems in the current risk management system at Asiana.

The unprecedented decision to have a foreign national at the Korean airline’s top safety post comes amid investigations into the crash-landing at San Francisco International Airport on July 6 that killed three Chinese teenagers and injured some 180 other passengers.

Yamamura, 65, was cautious about expressing his personal opinions on the cause of the accident and the ongoing investigation conducted by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. He is scheduled to attend a hearing on the NTSB probe to be held in Washington on Dec. 10 and 11.

Asked about the over-reliance on automations systems in the cockpit, he responded that there should be no problem if pilots are trained properly even though situations differ case by case.

“An easier flight means a safer flight,” he added.

But he wouldn’t elaborate on the possible changes in the current safety management system, including pilot training, saying he was still trying to study the organization overall as he joined the team just three days ago.

“Through our discussions (with the staff) I could feel their strong desire to regain the trust and confidence of our customers and partners,” he said.

Yamamura, who joined ANA in 1972 and served in diverse safety-related positions, including a safety auditor for the International Air Transport Association, also expressed his affection for Korea as he was a pilot himself with 25 years of experience, including frequent flights connecting Tokyo and Seoul.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)

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