Release #08.032
July 9, 2008

ALPA Condemns Criminalization of Concorde Airline Accident

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the recent announcement by French prosecutors that they intend to pursue a criminal investigation following the tragic crash of the Concorde in 2000, and the subsequent Flight Safety Foundation statement condemning that action, Captain John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, released the following statement:

“France’s archaic approach to this tragic event represents a step backwards for global aviation safety. As we have continued to refine and improve our aviation safety systems to create the safest mode of transportation ever developed, we have learned that the criminalization of aircraft accident investigation can never produce positive results.

“We in the aviation safety community call upon our colleagues throughout the world to join us in pointing out to French authorities that their action will not improve aviation safety, rather it will inevitably lead to hazards going undetected. The threat of criminal prosecution will always result in suppressing the authorities’ ability to obtain valuable safety information before tragedy strikes. That is a fact acknowledged by enlightened safety cultures throughout the aviation world. To be sure, if someone commits an act with intent to do harm, that person should be prosecuted, but nothing suggests that any airline or its personnel performed any such deliberate act that resulted in the loss of the Concorde.

“We mourn the loss of our colleagues and their passengers but recognize that learning all that can be learned from such a tragedy is the greatest legacy they can leave – one that will be significantly diminished by this unwarranted and ill-conceived attempt to punish those who acted only to discharge their duties in a safe and professional manner. We applaud and support the swift response by the Flight Safety Foundation to call the world’s attention to this unfortunate misuse of valuable resources that might otherwise be used to make an incredibly safe system even safer.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing 55,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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Contacts: Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or