This has been a week that anyone connected with aviation will likely never forget. When we heard the news of the loss of the Germanwings aircraft this week there were different reactions from different people. Anyone who was anxious about flying or anyone who had overcome their anxiety lost their confidence. Here is was, proof that bad things can happen and that aircraft were dangerous! Other people, especially those that work in aviation had a different reaction. They were puzzled. They knew that aircraft are safe. They know the Airbus 320 has carried over 8 billion people safely and will continue to do so. Pilots and crew were shocked yet puzzled. And then the news came that this incident was not an aircraft safety issue but instead is a mental health issue. The impact of this news has hit everyone the same way. So what will happen next. Well there will be lots of debate about mental health and that’s a good thing. That this crew member could find himself alone on the flight deck is something that will never happen again.
If it had been an Aer Lingus, CityJet or Ryan Air aircraft different safety procedures that mean no crew member is alone on the flight deck would have meant a different outcome. Other airlines in Europe are now following the standards we in Ireland have had for years.
Aviation is not about getting you from A to B…it about getting you from A to B in a risk free, safe way and for billions of people every year this is achieved. If your confidence was “rattled” this week you are not alone.
What people are trying to come to terms with now is how little we still know about mental health issues and how another human can act is a way that affects so many other people in the midst of their anxiety. We will know a lot more about this as the weeks and months pass. We will get on with our lives. For the people directly affected directly by this, things will never be the same. This morning my thoughts are with them.