The Evolution of Airline Safety and Security Programs 2013-01-2229
Career paths are not something that one can predict. They are as much about being in the right spot at the right time with the desired skill set as they are about having a detailed, calculated plan. How does one go from being a young Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) test engineer to being an airline Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Compliance and the joint industry/FAA co-chair of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team?
It is a bit unusual that a non-pilot ends up on an airline Operations Specification listed as the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 119 Director of Safety for one of the largest airlines in the world. Engineering background and experience were key stepping stones on that journey along with a healthy dose of skepticism. An initial assignment to make an airline's safety program robust, credible and data driven, much like the very successful aircraft reliability programs, set the direction and path forward.
Today's commercial airline safety and security programs incorporate sophisticated hazard identification and risk mitigation processes taking advantage of millions of data points painstakingly reviewed for hints of emerging issues and trends. Working with just one airline's data is no longer sufficient. Broader industry analysis is required utilizing experience and information from airline partners, both domestic and international, as well as the wealth of public information available, from government radar surveillance data to social media.