Brazil Aviation Workers Blame Air Tragedy on Airlines Greed and Government Neglect

Rescuer collect body and body parts at the tragedy's scene Brazil's National Federation of Civil Aviation Workers and central trade unions that represent the civil aviation sector have just released a note in which they blame the chaotic situation of Brazil's air transportation on Brazilian authorities' negligence and air company's greed.

The Brazilian population and civil aviation workers (airline employees, aviation and airport workers) were very shocked, says the note, to hear about the air crash of TAM flight JJ 3054 from Porto Alegre to São Paulo, resulting in the loss of around 200 human lives this Tuesday (July 17).

This must not and cannot be regarded as a fatality, but is rather the result of negligence by the relevant authorities when regulating and supervising the aviation sector, and the rush of companies in the sector seeking to cut costs.

Of course no company wants an air crash, but it is unacceptable to diminish safety margins and increase profitability; this was the formula adopted as well as overloading the working hours of pilots, cabin crew and ground staff, in addition to slovenly outsourcing.

Added to this is the sharp growth of the aviation sector (whose increase was more than double the GDP growth in the last period), in the number of passengers and aircraft but, on the other hand, reducing the workers in the sector, curiously enough, in absolute figures and in proportion to the number of aircraft.

And we must not forget the liability of the regulatory authorities that oversee the aviation sector. It is necessary for society to steadily hold the government to the firm attitude of the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) as the inspecting body, including Infraero.

The agency must also create mechanisms to hear what every player in the sector has to say, in order to create policies for a new regulatory benchmark not based on economic interests alone.

Among these measures, it is very important to recall that since the air crash of the TAM flight 402 in 1996, workers have held the government to reduce the number of operations in downtown airports, namely Congonhas (São Paulo) and Santos Dumont (Rio de Janeiro), because of the resulting risk of these flights right in the middle of large urban centers.

At this moment when an alarming number of lives have been lost, some workmates and friends, we must not rush to accuse but rather to fight for a fast, transparent in-depth investigation to inform the population, and also resulting in measures against such losses.

This investigation must go deep and, even if it does cause drastic measures, such as closing down or considerably reducing flights in downtown airports, or the reorder to the company grids must be taken. The more important the sector's growth, the more necessary it is to guarantee that we will never again have an accident of these proportions.

At this moment, amidst the widespread emotion accompanying the workers in the sector, we hope that the government acts conclusively to prevent abuse of the airlines with their employees, in a state of stress and mourning, and to find a final solution for the crisis in flight safety and Brazilian airports.

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