WASHINGTON, DC, May 11, 2007 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) today denounced a decision by Brazilian criminal authorities to assign criminal responsibility to two pilots involved in a mid-air collision between a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 and a Legacy business airplane over Brazil in September 2006.
“We are disappointed that Brazilian police officials continue down the road of emphasizing ‘criminalization’ in the wake of last year’s tragic accident, instead of recognizing the premium the international aviation community places on investigating the root causes of an accident, so that safety improvements can be made,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
FSF President and CEO Bill Voss echoed Bolen’s statement. “We are deeply concerned that the criminalization of the investigation into the tragic accident of September 2006 could have a negative impact on aviation safety worldwide. We call on the police and other authorities to resist the pressure to prosecute and allow investigators to complete their work, so that the flying public can feel safe in the skies over Brazil and every other country.”
Bolen and Voss maintained that the decision has the potential to set a precedent for criminal charges to be applied to any pilot or party involved in international aviation accidents or incidents, in effect causing parties in accidents to hide information that is essential to improving safety.
The two cited another concern: The decision to indict the Legacy pilots prior to the conclusion of the safety-oriented aviation accident investigation does not reflect a fair or balanced view of all factors involved in the accident.
Voss added: “We recognize the need to ultimately see justice served. However, because the Brazilians have elected to proceed with a criminal investigation without the benefit of having concluded an objective aviation safety investigation, we are very concerned about whether any judicial proceedings could be conducted in a balanced or impartial fashion.”
# # #
Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association, Inc. (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.
Members of the media may receive NBAA Press Releases immediately via e-mail. To subscribe to the NBAA Press Release e-mail list, submit the online form at www.nbaa.org/news/pr/subscribe.