ACVFFI was represented during the 41st Session Triennal Assembly of ICAO by its Chairwoman, Pilar Vera together with Claudia Carrasco, ACHIVAAF President, Lourdes Bonet, AVGWI9525 President and Francisco Vasques-Tenreiro, Friend Member and not affected by air accident. The ACVFFI Delegation was attended from September 27 to October 2.
During the Assembly, there were elections for the 36 seats of the ICAO Council, the governing body of ICAO. This is important for ACVFFI as we will have regular interactions with the Council members regarding the adoption of Standards and Recommended (SARPS) practices that would support the latest developments and innovations in the air crash victims’ assistance field. The Assembly was recorded via the ICAO Harmony platform and it can be look HERE.
ACVFFI has submitted three working papers asking ICAO to prioritize the ICAO Policy on victims’ assistance. Likewise, ACVFFI Delegation had several meetings with the Representatives of States Member and International Organizations in order to request support for workings papers. All working papers discussed during the Assembly can be found HERE.
Supporting the improvement of Air Accident Investigations
Pilar Vera engaged in the Technical Commission for supporting the Working Paper 193 presented by Canada and co-sponsored by Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the European Union and its Member States, the other Member States of the European Civil Aviation Conference, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Senegal, and EUROCONTROL.
This paper outlines the importance of enhancing the credibility and transparency of air accident investigations conducted in accordance with Annex 13 – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation in the context of the downing of an aircraft, and of ensuring that the work initiated by ICAO to address this question is made a priority.
Block 3 of the first ICAO Symposium on Assistance to Air Accident Victims and their Families, held in Las Palmas (Spain) last December, was about the learned lessons in accident investigations. Conclusions highlighted the importance of a credible air accident investigation, with independence, rigour and technical capability. In addition to clear independence of the safety accident investigation whose main objective is to determine the root causes of the accident so as to avoid its recurrence.
Therefore, ACVFFI fully supported this Working Paper because we believe only a perfect air accident investigation is the only feasible way forward to improve safety, and it is the best tribute to our loved ones deceased in air crashes.
ACVFFI’s Working Papers
As Observer, ACVFFI can present Working Papers for consideration by the Assembly. This is the main way to communicate our suggestions to worldwide decision-makers.
After the first Symposium on Assistance to Air Accident Victims and their Families, ACVFFI aims for the final recommendations to become a reality. In this sense, ACVFFI supported Working Papers 21 “Assistance to the Aircraft Accident Victims and their Families” presented by the ICAO Council, regarding a list of 30 recommendations from mentioned Symposium.
The next video is the presentations of three Working Papers (WP) by ACVFFI to the Executive Committee. Ms. Pilar Vera explained briefly what and why ACVFFI requests and asked for the support of the delegations. Do not forget to turn on the English subtitles.
WP 88 Include in the ICAO Secretariat General a section dedicated to the ICAO Victims and Families’ Assistance Policy
ACVFFI requested Assembly urges ICAO to consider identifying or establishing a section or unit within the Secretariat to address the Assistance to Air Accident Victims and their Families. In addition, urge the Member States, Airlines and Airports International Associations to contribute with resources and/or seconded personnel to that aim.
In the spirit of the ICAO No Country Left Behind initiative, victim assistance cannot be left behind and should find a section/unit within the Secretariat, with specific personnel for promoting and managing all ICAO victim assistance regulations.
Taking into account the data of ICAO Assistance policy implementation shown in the Symposium on Assistance to Aircraft Victims and their Families, ACVFFI considers it necessary to promote knowledge on this matter through the establishment of persons in charge to do it.
WP 98 Assistance to Victims in the Emergency Plans of Airports and Airlines (ACI-IATA)
Continuing the aim of the above Working Paper, improving the implementation of Doc 9998, ACVFFI requested Assembly:
Urge ICAO to consider inserting an additional recommendation in Annex 14 — Aerodromes, Volume I — Aerodrome Design and Operations, Chapter 9, about airport operators to have victims and families center reception which have to be included in airport emergency plans;
Request the Council to consider establishing a Recommended Practice in Annex 19 – Safety Management for airport operators to develop appropriate plans for providing timely and effective assistance to aircraft accident victims and their families, within their emergency plans;
Urge States, airport operators and airlines that when they adopt such measures, consider including the Victims’ Associations that show their willingness to collaborate in the development of the same; and
Remind States, airport operators and airlines the Resolution A39-27 of the Assembly and urge them to take preventive and appropriate measures related to safety regarding assistance to victims
WP 62 ‘Trainair Plus’ course about ICAO Policy on Assistance to Aircraft Accident Victims and their Families
Once again, without losing sight of Doc 9998 implementation data, ACVFFI had several suggestions regarding de Course of Assistance included in the Programme Trainair Plus.
After repeated and past requests, in June 2022, the validation delivery of the new ICAO “Assistance to Aircraft Accident Victims and their Families: Virtual Classroom” Course. The initial aim was to focus on the collaboration of several aviation actors in the development of a State Plan for Assistance to Aircraft Accident Victims and their Families, including the roles of Airports and Airlines. While the Course validation did not meet our full expectations, ACVFFI highlighted it was the very first step in promoting the ICAO policy. We suggested a number of improvements.
Urge ICAO to provide sufficient resources to have experts from the ICAO Policy on Victim Assistance and enable the participation of experts recognized in order to balance the interests of States Members and International Organizations with the ICAO Policy. Finally, urge States, Airlines and Airports International Organizations to promote participation.
The Assembly will finish on 7 October 2022.
We will inform you regarding the Assembly Resolutions when they are issued.