Safety is a promise that China Airlines will not compromise. In 2019, as part of a commitment to advance aircraft engineering and maintenance, we continued to implement our safety management system (SMS) and maintain SMS certification. The goal is to advance the flight control safety and quality of our crew while upgrading equipment and maintenance, thus providing customers with the highest quality, most reliable service possible.
Pursuing Growth While Implementing SMS
Since 2007, China Airlines has implemented SMS in accordance with the "Civil Aviation Act". Following years of operations, the system is becoming more mature. Continuous risk identification and risk management mechanisms enable systematic tracking and management of operations. Besides encouraging front-line staff to identify operational risk factors and enhancing the sharing of safety information and case advocacy, management by walking around boosts morale and encourages employees to report hazards and improve safety. When a safety incident occurs on another airline, we use the experience to evaluate our own systems, encouraging staff to actively and preemptively manage risk in order to prevent a similar incident from occurring. To further integrate risk management ideas into all operational departments and strengthen risk management SOPs among staff, we offer risk management classes that combine theory and practice. Furthermore, we use computer systems to support risk management operations in all departments. By making risk management a part of every employee’s daily operational thinking, we change people’s work attitude at the most fundamental level. Since 2016, the CAA has carried out SMS evaluations of all domestic airlines to ensure effective implementation. In June 2019, China Airlines hosted the International Safety Management System Seminar at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. Civil aeronautics supervisory agencies, domestic and international airlines, and experts gathered to discuss the implementation and outlook of SMS. Participants praised the informative nature of the seminar and promised to integrate what they learned into their work. In the future, we will continue to make safety management an integral part of operations by employees at all levels. Stronger implementation will build a safe culture and a better SMS.
Forging Ahead with Safety Certifications to Support Our Safe Flight Guarantee
The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is considered the highest safety audit standard for international aviation. According to IATA membership regulations, all 290 members must pass IOSA certification and undergo recertification every two years in order to continue to ensure the quality of their flight safety systems.
Between October 22 and 26, 2019, the French audit organization Quali-Audit evaluated China Airlines’ safety standards in accordance with IOSA requirements. We performed excellently to pass our 8th IOSA audit (the certification remains valid through February 25, 2021) and will undergo another IOSA renewal audit in 2020 to ensure that we continue to meet the highest of international standards.
The IOSA standards are based on eight areas that contribute to airline operational safety. These are: corporate organization and management systems, flight operations, aircraft engineering and maintenance, operational control and flight dispatch, cabin operations, ground handling, cargo operations, and operational security. IOSA audits can only be carried out by organizations accredited by IATA.
After obtaining IOSA certification for the first time in 2005, China Airlines has continued to raise safety quality. Measures include strict selection and evaluation of pilots as well as use of Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA), Flight Operations Risk Assessment System (FORAS), and other operating systems to monitor flight safety records. Specific departments are tasked with safety audits, quality control, and SMS implementation. China Airlines remains firmly committed to flight safety with no room for oversight. We will continue to implement IOSA standards in accordance with international requirements to ensure flight safety and provide passengers with high-quality service they can trust.
Improved Flight Training to Raise Safety and Quality
To achieve our flight safety objectives, since 2019 China Airlines has considered the flight safety methods of major airlines around the world in order to design an improved pilot career training plan that takes into account training on different aircraft models. Specific promotion and transfer training procedures are outlined. Flight crews on long-haul aircraft have the opportunity to accumulate landing control capabilities for short-haul aircraft, and flight crews on short-haul aircraft have the opportunity to accumulate long-haul flight management capabilities. This strengthens the learning motivation of aviation crew members, raises flight quality, and ensures a safer flight.
The ICAO also requests that flight crews undergo UPRT training. Since March 2019, China Airlines has implemented a training plan that meets “Civil Aviation Act” requirements and international regulations. The plan strengthens flight crew members’ proficiency in handling various flight situations and flight irregularities. Besides lowering risk, it makes flight crew members better equipped to carry out their jobs by improving flight control safety.
Equipment Upgrades to Strengthen Flight Crew Training
China Airlines’ flight operations training equipment has been certified by the civil aeronautics competent authorities of numerous nations. Besides providing simulated aviation training for flight crews of domestic and foreign airlines, the training program teaches land and water evacuation procedures. It also offers emergency response training for passenger cabin crew members. We continue to renew the training facilities in order to raise overall training quality.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, China Airlines completed upgrade of its Airbus A350 flight simulator to standard 1.2, significantly raising training quality and improving test results of flight crew members.
In the third quarter of 2019, we followed the strictest requirements when installing extended envelope training in all of our flight simulators. Besides meeting CAA requirements, the new standards fully meet requirements of all flight simulator regulations, further improving flight safety.
In line with new international practices, the regular re-training and testing of China Airlines’ flight crews follows an evidence-based training program. In 2019, we completed brief-debrief system upgrades on all flight simulators, significantly improving recording and replay quality, which improved the quality of training.
In 2019, China Airlines further upgraded equipment by purchasing all-new A330 door trainers that are more realistic and ensure compliance with regulations. To improve training quality for emergency evacuations on water, in August 2019 we purchased 738 life rafts.
In 2019, China Airlines continued to revise the simulation quality management system to meet all regulatory requirements and ensure flight simulator quality. Following the purchase of new Airbus A321neo jetliners, to fully meet the training needs of flight crews we plan to acquire a dedicated flight simulator and flight training device that are scheduled to begin service in August 2021. To support emergency evacuation training, we acquired door trainers and slide rafts suited for the A321neo as well as wing evacuation window training devices. Scheduled to be available for training in the first quarter of 2021, these devices will increase the breadth of our emergency and evacuation training.
System Upgrades Support Premium Maintenance Services
As part of our commitment to provide professional maintenance and repairs, China Airlines constantly seeks improvements and innovation in the areas of aircraft engineering, maintenance, repairs, quality control, planning, and industrial cooperation. Besides Taiwan’s CAA, we are certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration, the European Aviation Safety Agency, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China. We were the first airlines in Taiwan to be awarded AS9110 Certification by the French Standardization Association (AFNOR), showing that we meet the highest international aerospace standards. With our comprehensive maintenance capacity, we carry out mechanical work on the China Airlines fleet as well as aircraft from more than 40 additional airlines from around the world. Our hangars have sufficient floor space to accommodate up to five wide-body aircraft, we have an engine test cell with a thrust rating of up to 120,000 pounds, and our engine and component shops are stacked with a wide collection of advanced equipment. These facilities enable high-end testing and maintenance of aircraft bodies, engines, and components.
Furthermore, China Airlines and the US-based NORDAM Aerospace Group jointly established the maintenance company NORDAM Asia Limited. NORDAM holds a 51% share in the joint venture while China Airlines holds 49%. The maintenance facility, which is under construction at Taoyuan International Airport’s Zhongzheng section, will provide thrust reverser and composite material maintenance services to the Asia region. The groundbreaking ceremony was on November 8, 2019. Completion and acquisition of the building use permit are expected to take place by the end of December 2020.
To expand our cooperation with Airbus, after signing a general terms agreement and integrated material services contract in November 2017, we advanced our dual partnership by signing an Airbus MRO Alliance (AMA) agreement on June 11, 2018, in Toulouse, France. We continued the agreement in 2019 after receipt of Airbus’ maintenance quotation sheet.
China Airlines also continues to introduce new generation maintenance models. In 2018, we added the Skywise cloud and big data analysis system. Skywise quickly gives visual dashboards that enable deep analysis of aircraft and equipment reliability, providing better health monitoring and predictive maintenance for our fleet. For ground support equipment tracking, we carried out needs and design application testing with Airbus. In 2019, we advanced from first stage to second stage test equipment and will continue to make modifications in accordance with user needs. We are also in talks with Airbus about partnering on development of a smart hanger system.
In addition, our maintenance facilities seek to reduce repair costs and protect the environment. Besides saving water, oil, and electricity, we digitalize maintenance procedures and use eco paints for our aircrafts. These measures protect the environment while fulfilling our sustainability promise.