Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chile Has Best Airplane Safety Record in Latin America

No commercial airline crashes since 1990.

The recent crash of a Brazilian commercial airplane in the Amazon jungle that caused the death of 155 people has began a debate in Chile regarding the local standards of air travel safety. In stark contrast to Chile's road safety record which is not among the best in the world, no air traffic crashes involving commercial passenger airplanes has occurred since 1990, when a local airplane went down in the south of the country causing the death of 24 persons.
According to the local Civil Aviation Agency (DGAC), Chile has been classified in the first category of the international ranking , in other words, the country complies with the international standards of operational safety and also its airports have at present the most advanced safety technology in operation.
According to Lorenzo Sepulveda, Director of Operational safety for the DGAC, Chile is a leader among countries with fewer airplane accidents.
"The incident rates show that for every million takeoffs there is a major accident or a plane malfunction, but until now we have carried out 2 million takeoffs, higher rates that those of more developed countries. All our officials and technicians are well trained and make sure that the safety standards are implemented. Our Civil Aviation Code is very strict, a safety violation is not a fault, it is considered a crime with legal penalties," said Sepulveda.
On March 29, 2006 , Chile was the first member state of the International Air Transport Association ( IATA) to formally announce that it would declare the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) a condition of its airline certification process. "Chile has always been a regional leader in aviation safety. Today's announcement puts Chile at the forefront of using IOSA - the industry's first global benchmark for safety - to complement its safety oversight program," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO.
In December 2005, the Latin American Air Transport Association (AITAL) declared Santiago's international airport as the "Best Latin American Air Terminal". Santiago airport has a capacity to transfer more than 12 million passengers per year, and has the most modern warehouses for imports and exports, making it the gateway for Asian products into South America and vice versa. In 2005, the airport carried out 67,900 air operations and at present the airport is undergoing an expansion process with a total investment of US$ 15 million, whereby new reception areas will be built, increasing passenger handling capacity. Also, nearly US$500,000 is being spent to continue installing "Air Field Turf", a synthetic turf that prevents birds from settling near the runways and colliding with airplanes, one of the main causes of accidents worldwide. "Air Field Turf" is the only product of its kind authorized by the United States Federal Aviation Authority (
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