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Aviation

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport whether his Department has issued guidance to airlines on use of pitot tubes on medium and long- haul jets. (279584)

Civil aviation safety in the UK is regulated by independent aviation safety regulators: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As such the Department for Transport does not itself issue guidance.

EASA has been responsible for the regulation of aircraft design issues since 2003, as set out in Regulation (EC) 216/2008. On 9 June 2009, EASA issued a Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) that refers to the pitot system of the aircraft involved in the Air France accident on 1 June 2009. The bulletin reminds operators of the need to ensure that flight crew are fully familiar with procedures associated with unreliable airspeed indications. The UK CAA supports this SIB and will continue to work with EASA and UK airlines on this matter as further information from the investigation emerges.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what assessment his Department has made of the reliability of computerised measurement of airspeeds on A330 aircraft; (279587)

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the reliability of the air data inertial reference unit computer system used on A330 aircraft.

Civil aviation safety in the UK is regulated by independent aviation safety regulators: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As such the Department for Transport does not itself assess the reliability of aircraft products and parts.

As part of the type certification process for the Airbus A330, the aircraft design and its systems were required to meet the established safety standards, which addressed the issue of reliability.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) assumed responsibility for the regulation of aircraft design issues in 2003. Continued compliance with these standards is assured through continuing airworthiness monitoring by the manufacturer (Airbus), overseen by the regulator (EASA).

The UK CAA will continue to work with EASA and UK airlines on any matters related to this accident, as further information from the investigation emerges.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with the Civil Aviation Authority on the safety of A330 aircraft; (279589)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to assess the safety of A330 aircraft.

Civil aviation safety in the UK is regulated by independent aviation safety regulators: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is responsible for the regulation of aircraft design, and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As such the Department for Transport is not in itself making an assessment of the safety of the A330 aircraft.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority. The last meeting was on 9 June 2009 and aviation safety was discussed.

At present, the Civil Aviation Authority remains confident that the appropriate effort and resources are being deployed to ensure the continued safe operation of the Airbus A330 type. If this situation changed, as a result of evidence from the accident investigation, the CAA has the power to take the appropriate safety action in respect of UK-registered aircraft or aircraft operated by UK operators.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what research his Department has undertaken into the risks posed by the effect known as coffin corner in relation to aircraft. (279591)

Civil aviation safety in the UK is regulated by independent aviation safety regulators: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As such, the Department for Transport has not conducted any research into the ‘coffin corner’ effect.