|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : zzz|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Any Unknown or Unlisted Aircraft Manufacturer|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
pilot : cfi
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 45|
flight time total : 6800
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other other : unspecified|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
The commuter that I work for is owned by a major carrier. Not surprisingly, our marketing and accounting departments are controled by the parent company. What is surprising is that our operations and maintenance departments have never been audited. This is the normal state of affairs with all of the major commuter affiliations that I am familiar with. Typically, the major airline gives very specific instructions about the paint on the airplane, but takes no interest in what happens under the inspection panels. Also typical is for the major to control flight attendant training, but to show no interest in pilot training -- other than its cost. The control that the majors have over their affiliates can not be underestimated. Even if a commuter is, in theory, independent, the major controls the commuter's yield, dictates where it can fly, and sets the handling fees that it is assessed. In other words, the major controls virtually every cent of income that the affiliate receives, and a great deal of the expenses. The result of this situation is that the marketing departments of the major carriers dictate, both directly and indirectly, policy in the flight and maintenance departments of the commuters. By squeezing the finances of the commuter, demanding 'efficiency', and often dictating where expenses are to be cut, the accounting and marketing departments of the majors set policies in these areas that would never be tolerated at a major carrier. The level of control that the majors have over their affiliates is obvious, but a check with the NTSB will find that the major airlines are less than interested in the accidents and incidents that occur with their affiliates. Major airlines must be made accountable for the overall safety and compliance disposition of any airline that they, in effect, control. This could be achieved quite simply. The administrator could inform the ceos of the major airlines that if they do not monitor all aspects of their affiliates operation, and the FAA is forced to take action against an affiliate's operating certificate for any reason, the majors certificate may be suspended pending investigation. Such a policy is easily justified. If a ceo does not care about the operation of his airline's affiliates, what assurance is there that he cares about his own airline? Financial control, safety, and regulatory compliance are not separate issues. FAA (and the caa before it), has used various means to assure that those who control an airline are responsible for it. By some means, those who now control the commuter industry must be made responsible for the results.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GENERAL COMPLAINT STATING THAT MAJOR ACRS ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE OVERALL SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE DISPOSITION OF THE COMMUTER AIRLINES THEY CT.
Narrative: THE COMMUTER THAT I WORK FOR IS OWNED BY A MAJOR CARRIER. NOT SURPRISINGLY, OUR MARKETING AND ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENTS ARE CTLED BY THE PARENT COMPANY. WHAT IS SURPRISING IS THAT OUR OPERATIONS AND MAINT DEPARTMENTS HAVE NEVER BEEN AUDITED. THIS IS THE NORMAL STATE OF AFFAIRS WITH ALL OF THE MAJOR COMMUTER AFFILIATIONS THAT I AM FAMILIAR WITH. TYPICALLY, THE MAJOR AIRLINE GIVES VERY SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT THE PAINT ON THE AIRPLANE, BUT TAKES NO INTEREST IN WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE INSPECTION PANELS. ALSO TYPICAL IS FOR THE MAJOR TO CTL FLT ATTENDANT TRAINING, BUT TO SHOW NO INTEREST IN PLT TRAINING -- OTHER THAN ITS COST. THE CTL THAT THE MAJORS HAVE OVER THEIR AFFILIATES CAN NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED. EVEN IF A COMMUTER IS, IN THEORY, INDEPENDENT, THE MAJOR CTLS THE COMMUTER'S YIELD, DICTATES WHERE IT CAN FLY, AND SETS THE HANDLING FEES THAT IT IS ASSESSED. IN OTHER WORDS, THE MAJOR CTLS VIRTUALLY EVERY CENT OF INCOME THAT THE AFFILIATE RECEIVES, AND A GREAT DEAL OF THE EXPENSES. THE RESULT OF THIS SITUATION IS THAT THE MARKETING DEPARTMENTS OF THE MAJOR CARRIERS DICTATE, BOTH DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY, POLICY IN THE FLT AND MAINT DEPARTMENTS OF THE COMMUTERS. BY SQUEEZING THE FINANCES OF THE COMMUTER, DEMANDING 'EFFICIENCY', AND OFTEN DICTATING WHERE EXPENSES ARE TO BE CUT, THE ACCOUNTING AND MARKETING DEPARTMENTS OF THE MAJORS SET POLICIES IN THESE AREAS THAT WOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED AT A MAJOR CARRIER. THE LEVEL OF CTL THAT THE MAJORS HAVE OVER THEIR AFFILIATES IS OBVIOUS, BUT A CHECK WITH THE NTSB WILL FIND THAT THE MAJOR AIRLINES ARE LESS THAN INTERESTED IN THE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS THAT OCCUR WITH THEIR AFFILIATES. MAJOR AIRLINES MUST BE MADE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE OVERALL SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE DISPOSITION OF ANY AIRLINE THAT THEY, IN EFFECT, CTL. THIS COULD BE ACHIEVED QUITE SIMPLY. THE ADMINISTRATOR COULD INFORM THE CEOS OF THE MAJOR AIRLINES THAT IF THEY DO NOT MONITOR ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR AFFILIATES OPERATION, AND THE FAA IS FORCED TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST AN AFFILIATE'S OPERATING CERTIFICATE FOR ANY REASON, THE MAJORS CERTIFICATE MAY BE SUSPENDED PENDING INVESTIGATION. SUCH A POLICY IS EASILY JUSTIFIED. IF A CEO DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE OPERATION OF HIS AIRLINE'S AFFILIATES, WHAT ASSURANCE IS THERE THAT HE CARES ABOUT HIS OWN AIRLINE? FINANCIAL CONTROL, SAFETY, AND REGULATORY COMPLIANCE ARE NOT SEPARATE ISSUES. FAA (AND THE CAA BEFORE IT), HAS USED VARIOUS MEANS TO ASSURE THAT THOSE WHO CONTROL AN AIRLINE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT. BY SOME MEANS, THOSE WHO NOW CTL THE COMMUTER INDUSTRY MUST BE MADE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RESULTS.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.