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We are flight attendants

  • 8,000 In-charges and flight attendants.
  • Working at Air Canada, Air Transat, CALM Air, Cathay Pacific, First Air.

Passenger safety is at risk

  • Transport Canada is entrusted with ensuring passenger safety.
  • September 11, 2001 highlighted safety and security needs.
  • In as little as 60 days a new regime that reduces the number of flight attendants on large passenger aircraft could be in place.
  • The process of developing these regulations has been biased and secretive.
  • The Standing Committee is the check when Transport Canada is out of balance.

Flight attendants are the first line of defence when things go wrong

  • Fewer flight attendants mean reduced safety for passengers.
  • Crash investigations provide conclusive evidence more flight attendants can make the difference between life and death, safety and injury.
  • Flight attendant are trained to respond to:
    • On board fires
    • Cabin decompression
    • Unruly passengersAir rage
    • Security breaches (shoe bomber)
    • Conduct emergency evacuations
    • Medical emergencies

Adequate ratio of flight attendants to passengers essential for safety

  • Canadian staffing ratio regulation 1 in 40 passengers set in 1971.
  • In Australia, the ratio remains one flight attendant for every 36 passengers.
  • In the U.S., the ratio was increased from one flight attendant for every 44 seats to one flight attendant for every 50 seats despite complaints from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board that the necessary safety analysis was not done.
  • In 1995, Air Canada and Bombardier obtained an exemption to operate the 50 seat Regional Jet with only one flight attendant.

Transport Canada has repeatedly rejected industry demands for 1 in 50

Since 1999, WestJet has been pushing for the application of the 1 in 50 seats rule to larger aircraft.
  • Transport Canada safety officials have rejected requests for exemptions from 1 in 40 on at least five occasions.
  • Lobbying campaign by the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) for a 1 in 40/ 1 in 50 flip flop rule to allow carriers to choose the staffing ratio they prefer.

Transport Canada top safety officials determined that cutting flight attendants would not be safe

  • In March 2001, Transport Canada rejected the ATAC proposal ruling that WestJet and ATAC have not provided any compelling reason for the regulatory change.
  • Transport Canada safety officials added that it is persuasive that further reduction in the number of cabin crew can have a negative effect on safety and certainly will not enhance safety.

1 in 50 is back but expert analysis that ruled it out in 2001 is being kept secret

  • This time 1 in 50 advocates appear to be banking on slipping their plan under the political/public radar.
  • ATAC has once again been actively lobbying for 1 in 50.
  • New regulations to implement 1 in 50 have been prepared.
  • The detailed expert analysis by Transport Canada officials that led to the determination that this plan was unsafe in 2001 is being kept secret even in response to Access to Information requests.

Risk analysis study used to justify 1 in 50 is fatally flawed

  • Transport Canada risk analysis on this issue is incomplete and biased:
    • Failed to consider realistic risk scenarios and safety issues post- 9/11.
    • Team included former industry lobbyist and an ATAC nominee.
    • Analysis did not consider all the issues.
    • Team did not complete the risk analysis before referring it for a managerial decision.
    • Process fails standard set by Treasury Board for risk analysis consultation.
  • Ironically, study still concludes that current rules 1 in 40 are the safest option.

The credibility of Transport Canada is at stake

  • A decision made in haste will undermine the aviation industry.
  • Public confidence in air travel will be compromised.
  • Excessive executive bonuses in the industry are unseemly as safety margins are slashed.

The Standing Committee should protect the aviation industry if necessary against itself

  • Full public examination of all the evidence before any decision on flight attendant staffing levels.
  • In the interim:
    • No Ministerial exemption for 1 in 50.
    • Release all documents being withheld including Transport Canadas own rationale for rejecting 1 in 50 in 2001.
    • Reject flawed risk analysis.