HOUSTON, TEXAS â€“ September 24, 2007 â€“ The explosion of an engine on a China Airlinesâ€™ aircraft in Naha, Okinawa, on August 20, 2007, was no surprise to ASI Group staff members. Analysts of ASI, a leading provider of global risk-management services, have given China Airlines a low safety rating for years in their online database Airline Insider, a compilation of research and analysis about commercial air carriers, charter and helicopter services worldwide. ASI has continually graded China Airlines as â€œinadequateâ€ or â€œquestionable,â€ citing the airlinesâ€™ lengthy list of incidents along with its maintenance and training procedures, which have repeatedly been called into question.
â€œConsidering the relatively small size of China Airlinesâ€™ fleet, theyâ€™ve had an unusually high number of significant accidents,â€ said Charlie LeBlanc, president of ASI Group. â€œThose who subscribe to Airline Insider know this.â€
Subscribers to the system are often corporate travel and security managers who must educate themselves about the safety issues surrounding international commercial carriers. Frequently their employees must use airlines they donâ€™t know much about. Airline Insider gives them the facts so they can decide the best carrier in which to book a flight or whether to choose another mode of transportation altogether.
â€œAirline Insider is one of the reputable sources for airline safety information that we make available to our managers and travelers,â€ said BPâ€™s Global Aviation Safety Manager, Jim Tonelli. â€œThis information helps them in their decision making concerning which airlines to use in international and domestic operations.â€
Concern about airline safety is nothing new. Other research and analytical firms have attempted to quantify airline safety, basing assessments solely on the number of deadly accidents a carrier suffered. Airline Insider is different.
Analysts examine a carrierâ€™s current financial position, maintenance practice, age and type of aircraft, as well as the carrierâ€™s history of incidents, accidents, pilot training, background and experience. ASI supplies a full report for each carrier listed, which currently stands at 265 and covers 130 different countries. Airline Insider also provides the FAAâ€™s most recent International Aviation Safety Assessments (IASA) report, which focuses on the ability of each countryâ€™s civil aviation organization (not the individual air carrier) to adhere to recommended safety standards.
Consequently, ASI experts seek to analyze the airlineâ€™s current structure and to identify potential problems that could impact an airline's future safety. By using this proactive approach, ASI can often identify a troubled airline before it becomes a statistic.
Organized in a simple reference format available online, Airline Insider offers users the flexibility to list all of the airlines in the system alphabetically, by country or by region, allowing users to quickly find alternative airlines without complicated database searches.
Before booking a flight on an international carrier, travelers should ask themselves a series of questions. Does the airline have a history of fatal accidents? Is it flying new Western-built aircraft or older Russian-built planes that are 30 years old or more? Does the airline maintain an adequate maintenance program or is it cannibalizing aircraft because it canâ€™t afford spare parts?