A Landmark MOU for Chinese Aviation Safety

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By Erica He

On Nov. 5, AmCham China's Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP) made a strong step in its commitment to supporting China's continued strong growth in aviation. ACP Co-Chair Ian Thomas and CAAC Deputy Administrator Li Jian signed an Memorandum of Understanding acknowledging that civil aviation safety in China is of paramount importance, and that ACP is an excellent platform for supporting this work.

Both sides agreed to share best practices, technology, and know-how to ensure overall safety of China’s aviation system. Priorities for joint cooperation will involve flight standards for commercial transportation and flight safety operations. Thomas commended Li for China’s outstanding aviation safety record, and Li in turn thanked the US side for its assistance.

he first action of this MOU was the Nov. 10-12 Civil Aviation Safety Symposium, held in Chengdu and attended by over 230 industry and regulatory participants from CAAC, Chinese airlines, FAA and ACP. Boeing provided strong co-sponsorship support with about 40 presenters and panelists. 

CAAC Chief Safety Supervisor (Deputy Administrator level) Wu Chengchang (pictured) kicked off the event along with Boeing VP of Safety, Security and Compliance, John Hamilton. The sessions included topics on the history of aviation safety, making safety personal at Alaska Airlines; panels on implementing Safety Management Systems (SMS); safety culture; collaborative implementation of technology, and Boeing’s development program design enhancements. Two separate breakout sessions were held on flight operations scenarios, and maintenance and engineering programs. The last half-day had in-depth session on using data to be forward looking instead of reactive.

Based on feedback from attendees, specific modifications have been identified for next year: going deeper on application of safety principles with specific examples from CAST and SMS, and stronger participation by CAAC and Chinese airlines as co-presenters and panelists.

Additional opportunities have been identified for further consideration to promote more regular interaction and dialogue on flight operations/information exchanges in China, and a workshop on CAST – applying safety principles through case studies.

During the closing session, CAAC requested that ACP organize a safety symposium in April specific to general aviation/business aviation, and a separate symposium in October on commercial aviation.