Flight Safety Foundation Establishes Australian Regional Base

Initial geographical focus will be Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.

MELBOURNE – Aviation safety body, Flight Safety Foundation (FSF), announces an expansion of its operations into the Pacific region through a consolidation with the Aviation Safety Foundation Australasia (ASFA). The move sees the former ASFA's operations absorbed into the Flight Safety Foundation's organisational structure and the establishment of a FSF regional base in Melbourne, Australia.

"Our new office in Melbourne is an important part of our mission to spread aviation safety information as widely as possible," says Flight Safety Foundation President and CEO William R. Voss. "It not only puts us in a strong position to spread our safety message to the entire region, but we also can be used by the Australian aviation community to help spread their innovations to their aviation peers around the world. This is a part of the world that is growing quickly and we need to have a presence. I'm very pleased that the ASFA Board saw this opportunity and realized it would be a win-win for Australia and the rest of the aviation community."

The initial geographical focus of the US-based Foundation's first regional office will be Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Longer term the move is seen as a stepping stone to providing support to the industry in the broader Asia Pacific region.

Coordinating the FSF's new regional team will be former Executive Director of ASFA, Paul Fox.

"As the industry comes under increasing financial pressure it becomes even more important that safety remains uppermost in people's minds," he said. "In Australia, the Government's recent Aviation Policy Green Paper is to be commended for setting an example in the region by reinforcing safety as the number one priority for the industry. Today's announcement by the Flight Safety Foundation creates a stronger independent voice on all matters of aviation safety in the region."

Recent figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 230 airlines comprising 93 per cent of scheduled international air traffic, reported the total number of fatalities from aviation accidents dropped from 692 in 2007 to 502 in 2008.

However, the number of accidents increased from 200 in 2007, to 209 in 2008, with fatal accidents up from 20 in 2007, to 23 in 2008.

The Asia/Pacific region performed better than the global average of one accident per 1.2 million flights in 2008 with one accident per 1.7 million flights.

Asia/Pacific continues to be the fastest growing passenger market, with the top five fastest growing freight markets all having destinations in the AP region.

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