FAA To Merge Safety Reporting Programs
The FAA Wednesday announced that it will merge information collected through voluntary safety programs for both pilots and air traffic controllers to "help guide safety decisions." The FAA is billing the merge as a "data-sharing program" that will collect information from the existing Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) and the Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP). It will then use both perspectives to assess and review safety events. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt calls the merger "revolutionary" in its ability to provide "an incredible amount of data," help the agency identify trouble spots within the aviation system, and "make corrections and avoid incidents." The FAA says it will develop policies and processes to make sure information is analyzed and applied in a non-punitive way.
Both ASAP and ATSAP encourage employees to voluntarily report information relevant to accident aversion by identifying potential precursors to accidents. The FAA encourages carriers to involve themselves in the ASAP program. To date, some 73 carriers have taken them up on the offer. Those carriers that participate encourage their pilots to involve themselves, too, but participation is optional for both carriers and pilots. The ATSAP program similarly aims to cultivate a "voluntary cooperative and non-punitive environment" for controllers to report their safety concerns. The FAA says it acts proactively on information received from both programs. The agency believes merging the two programs will provide a more well-rounded picture of problems in the national airspace system.