Risk Management Case Study: American Airlines

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According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, American Airlines flight 965 from Miami International Airport to Alfonso Bonilla Aragon International Airport in Cali, Colombia started off as a routine flight for the 163 passengers and 8 crew aboard the Boeing 757 aircraft. The pilots originally had the flight management system (FMS) programmed in from Miami all the way to a landing on runway 1 at Cali. Cali, along with having lots of mountainous terrain around it also did not have functioning radar for ATC to track aircraft. At this point in time, everything in the FMS was programmed in correctly. But, due to a shift in winds, ATC in Cali offered the pilots of flight 965 the option of doing a straight-in approach and landing on runway …show more content…
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization journal (2006), the ICAO model uses four “pillars” consisting of policy, risk management, assurance, and promotion The first, policy, basically sets the standards that the company, American Airlines, should have for its employees and for its aircraft to have in order to accomplish a safe flight. Risk management looks at different hazards that currently are present, or that could possibly become present during an operation. After figuring out these risks, this pillar is also responsible for mitigation, or reducing the risk. Assurance deals with monitoring different events to see if they could be a problem, or if they have been a problem in the past, if they have improved or not. Finally, promotion deals with ensuring that the proper people have the correct training and education on the different risks, and encourages them to communicate about safety issues (p. …show more content…
Risk management would have taken a look at the following items: mountainous terrain along this route, no functioning radar, not having the FMS display the whole name of the waypoint, and finally, the forgetting of the speed breaks being extended. In using the these pillars, it is one’s responsibility to identify potential hazards that are already know, and to “investigate” them, the risk associated with them, and what can be done to mitigate the risk. American Airlines should have begun with the known fact that this airport did not have a functioning radar, therefore leaving the location of planes unknown to ATC except for when they report certain waypoints. Through the mitigation system, American Airlines should have taken the lack of radar into consideration, especially considering that there was dangerous mountainous terrain in the vicinity, and should have either pushed for Colombia to install a radar system, or if need be, to pull service from this particular airport. The main contributing factor of the whole accident is the fact that the FMS only displayed “R”, instead of the full waypoint name, and the crew selected the first one on the list assuming that it was the one they intended it to be. Had they realized this problem though other pilot reports or during testing, they could have had a simple fix to this problem by making

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