NBAA Focus: Bloomberg News Publishes NBAA’s Response to Misleading Business Aviation Safety Story

NBAA Focus: Bloomberg News Publishes NBAA’s Response to Misleading Business Aviation Safety Story

NBAAfocusHeadSmallNBAA was quick to respond to a May 14 article by the Bloomberg news organization that distorted business aviation’s safety record. In a forceful letter, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen took a stand for accuracy in safety coverage of the industry.

“For starters, Bloomberg readers were never told that business aviation shares a safety record comparable to that of commercial airlines, and that one of the most significant factors underlying this outstanding record is the industry’s stringent pilot-training practices,” Bolen noted. “Business aviation flight departments commonly require more experience than the 1,500-hour minimum required for new-pilot hires by the airlines, as well as the highest pilot training and medical certifications available.”

Bolen’s response also pointed out that business aviation operators utilize rigorous training, along with “leading-edge onboard technologies” that further enhance safety and maintain pilot situational awareness.

“Business aircraft flown by many operators are typically as sophisticated – and often, even more so – than aircraft flown by the airlines, featuring cockpit technology that let pilots see through clouds and fog, and autopilots smart enough to initiate a descent if an aircraft cabin depressurizes,” he added.

Bolen also noted the stark contrast between “largely homogenous” airline operations, taking place along the same routes and to the same airports, with the diverse operating environment common to business aviation.

“Each business aviation flight may take the pilot(s) to a new airport, presenting new potential risks to be analyzed and mitigated,” he added. “These destinations may not offer the same robust reporting provided at the major airline hubs for factors such as runway conditions and outages, weather updates, available services, and other aspects unique to the mostly small airports used by business aircraft.”

Furthermore, although NBAA provided two staff for interviews with the story’s author – and connected the reporter with the respected business aviation safety authority, Robert E. Breiling and Associates – Bolen noted the writer excluded all comments from the NBAA representatives, and the data provided by Breiling.

“In attempting to quantify the business aviation safety record, the writer appears to have chosen a data set that arguably does not provide the clearest, most comprehensive possible picture on the matter,” Bolen stated. “Other news organizations that have covered business aviation safety have routinely found Breiling to be a credible authority on the matter, but despite the availability of Breiling’s data for this story, the writer ultimately chose to set aside the information.

“NBAA and its Member Companies understand all too well that one aviation accident is too many, and that the industry must continually learn from the lessons accidents provide, and work to find ways to avoid similar future tragedies,” Bolen concluded. “That said, the story’s lop-sided view of business aviation left out important information about what goes into making business aviation one of the safest forms of transportation, which routinely, reliably delivers many thousands of businesspeople to their destinations each year.”

Bloomberg’s editors ultimately published the letter in its entirety on the organization’s newswire

NBAA was quick to respond to a May 14 article by the Bloomberg news organization that distorted business aviation’s safety record. In a forceful letter, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen took a stand for accuracy in safety coverage of the industry.

“For starters, Bloomberg readers were never told that business aviation shares a safety record comparable to that of commercial airlines, and that one of the most significant factors underlying this outstanding record is the industry’s stringent pilot-training practices,” Bolen noted. “Business aviation flight departments commonly require more experience than the 1,500-hour minimum required for new-pilot hires by the airlines, as well as the highest pilot training and medical certifications available.”

Bolen’s response also pointed out that business aviation operators utilize rigorous training, along with “leading-edge onboard technologies” that further enhance safety and maintain pilot situational awareness.

“Business aircraft flown by many operators are typically as sophisticated – and often, even more so – than aircraft flown by the airlines, featuring cockpit technology that let pilots see through clouds and fog, and autopilots smart enough to initiate a descent if an aircraft cabin depressurizes,” he added.

Bolen also noted the stark contrast between “largely homogenous” airline operations, taking place along the same routes and to the same airports, with the diverse operating environment common to business aviation.

“Each business aviation flight may take the pilot(s) to a new airport, presenting new potential risks to be analyzed and mitigated,” he added. “These destinations may not offer the same robust reporting provided at the major airline hubs for factors such as runway conditions and outages, weather updates, available services, and other aspects unique to the mostly small airports used by business aircraft.”

Furthermore, although NBAA provided two staff for interviews with the story’s author – and connected the reporter with the respected business aviation safety authority, Robert E. Breiling and Associates – Bolen noted the writer excluded all comments from the NBAA representatives, and the data provided by Breiling.

“[I]n attempting to quantify the business aviation safety record, the writer appears to have chosen a data set that arguably does not provide the clearest, most comprehensive possible picture on the matter,” Bolen stated. “Other news organizations that have covered business aviation safety have routinely found Breiling to be a credible authority on the matter, but despite the availability of Breiling’s data for this story, the writer ultimately chose to set aside the information.

“NBAA and its Member Companies understand all too well that one aviation accident is too many, and that the industry must continually learn from the lessons accidents provide, and work to find ways to avoid similar future tragedies,” Bolen concluded. “That said, the story’s lop-sided view of business aviation left out important information about what goes into making business aviation one of the safest forms of transportation, which routinely, reliably delivers many thousands of businesspeople to their destinations each year.”

Bloomberg’s editors ultimately published the letter in its entirety on the organization’s newswire.

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