UK Government

Ministry Of Defence (National): MOD announces new Air Safety Authorty

Press Release   •   Dec 17, 2009 10:45 GMT

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has today announced the creation of a new military airworthiness authority to ensure aviation safety standards are of the highest order at all times.

The Military Aviation Authority (MAA) has been created as part of the MOD's full response to the Nimrod Review by Charles Haddon-Cave QC following the deaths of 14 service personnel onboard  Nimrod XV230 on 2 September 2006. The MAA will include an independent body to audit and scrutinize air safety activity. The MAA will be in place by 5 April 2010.

The creation of the MAA was one of two key strategic recommendations of Mr Haddon-Cave's report which have both been accepted by the MoD. The other key recommendation is a revised arrangement of safety responsibilities for those personnel charged with ensuring the safe operation of military aircraft.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said:

"My thoughts and condolences continue to be with the families of the 14 service personnel who tragically lost their lives in this incident. On behalf of the MOD and RAF I again apologise for the mistakes that were made. I also pay tribute to the Nimrod crews for their continual skill and professionalism. What we must do now is learn all the lessons from Mr Haddon-Cave's report and take all the actions necessary to implement them.

"I share Mr Haddon-Cave's view that we must ensure our future management of military air safety is of the highest order. I am grateful for the detailed proposals the Nimrod Review has made. We have examined these proposals thoroughly for the past seven weeks and we are already taking action to implement them, including the creation of the Military Aviation Authority to provide the leadership needed to deliver the highest safety standards. This is the most radical reform to MOD's airworthiness procedures since military aviation began. Mr Haddon-Cave's principles and his proposals regarding safety culture have a resonance beyond aviation and we are now looking at their applicability more widely across the MOD."

Air Marshal Kevin Leeson, Chief of Materiel (Air), said:

"The Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force is committed to learning from this tragic accident. Mr Haddon-Cave confirmed that the Nimrod aircraft remain safe to fly. He commended the findings of the RAF Board of Inquiry and the technical actions we had taken to restore integrity.

"In his recommendations, Mr Haddon-Cave proposed a number of improvements to safety processes that we had already made in our own immediate response to the crash, a number of which he recognises in his report. However, he goes further with the need for greater independence of regulation and audit from those who deliver aircraft day to day to operations. I believe these are sound recommendations and we already have a team working to bring the new Military Aviation Authority into effect."

Notes to Editors

1. The MoD's response to the Nimrod was announced by Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth in an oral statement to Parliament today. A detailed response to all Mr Haddon-Cave's recommendations has been place in the Library of the House of Commons.

2. For more information contact Paul Leat in the MOD Press Office on 020 7218 3254

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