Air France staff neglect safety: experts

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Air France staff appear to neglect safety in favour of commercial concerns and some pilots "systematically" ignore safety directives, experts wrote in an internal report seen by AFP on Tuesday.

"When questioned about safety on flights, senior Air France managers... put safety unquestionably as their number one priority. But this message does not seem to have been spread to staff," said the report.

"You do not commonly hear the words 'safety first'," the experts wrote.

"This leads some employees to think that safety considerations come second to commercial considerations."

Eight independent aviation experts were commissioned to carry out the report to answer employees' concerns after an Air France passenger jet crashed in the Atlantic in June 2009 with the deaths of all 228 people on board.

Separate probes into that accident have pointed to technical faults in certain parts fitted on the Airbus aircraft but have not blamed Air France for the disaster.

But the report seen Tuesday said that "the independent security team judges that in general, (Air France) lacks the strong line on safety matters that is necessary for correctly grasping safety and taking decisions day to day."

It also said that some pilots behaved in an "authoritarian" and "arrogant" way and had bad relations with other flight crew, and some crew complained of "ineffective, too theoretical" training.

© 2011 AFP

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