Some observations that lead me to believe that the airlines can do a better job managing the lifecycle, maintenance, and engineering changes...something our industry solutions addresses. I blogged about this in the past... Remember American Airlines (and others) having to ground their fleet to rush changes or risk compliance penalties?
Let's start with 2 observations:
1) Air France and Airbus apparently couldn't agree on what the maintenance changes should be
2) Airbus was forced to make changes to the pilots manual
Other data points:
The agency said the A330 had sent out 24 error messages in four minutes including one indicating a discrepancy in speed data. It said similar problems had happened before.
Air France said it had first noticed in May 2008 that ice in the sensors was causing lost data in planes like the A330, but that it failed to agree with Airbus on steps to take.
According to Air France, Airbus offered to carry out an in-flight test on new sensors this year but the airline decided to go ahead and started changing them anyway from April 27. It did not say whether the crashed plane had the new sensors but its last maintenance hangar visit was on April 16.
Some of the A330s 50 or so other operators defended the plane's safety record at an airlines meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, saying the crash was an isolated incident.
Airbus has faced problems with the speed sensors dating to at least 2001, forcing changes in equipment as well as the pilot's flight manual, according to online filings.
In 2001, France reported several cases of sudden fluctuation of A330 or A340 airspeed data during severe icing conditions and Airbus was ordered to change the cockpit manual, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
It is still early days, and we have to wait for final analysis but I believe there is room for improvement, given the data we have and the airlines should make steps towards improvement immediately to address these problems.