Susan Rice

Aviation Consultant / Cabin Safety Specialist

Sue entered the industry as a member of cabin crew in 1975. She was with one of the two domestic operators in Australia, Trans Australia Airlines, TAA – subsequently in 1993 to become the Short Haul Division of Qantas. She achieved and maintained a number of leadership roles during her career in training and safety management.

In 1999 Sue was successful in becoming the first Cabin Safety Inspector with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia, CASA.

During her 14 years at CASA, among other achievements she represented Australia at ICAO on several working groups, not the least of which was being an inaugural participant in the Cabin Safety Regulatory Panel which is still doing amazing, ground breaking work, being expertly chaired by Martin Maurino. She has achieved many milestones of which she is proud, however, one of her career highlights was to be part of the Regulatory Team responsible for the introduction of the Airbus A380 into Australia. Qantas Airways being the second operator, behind Singapore Airlines to take delivery.

Sue is currently Chair of the Asia Pacific Cabin Safety Working Group, which is an active regional industry group that was established in 1993. She accepted the nomination of Chair just over 3½ years ago. The Group is a forum for collaboration between all those within industry, and those with industry affiliations who seek to improve survivability within the cabin. It is all encompassing and as such there is always something to be gained by attendance and participation.

Sue is here today to pose some challenging questions to those responsible for educating and informing the aviation travelling public in matters of safety and ultimately what could result in survival.

Challenges in Education of the Aviation Travelling Public

Subsequent to accidents and/or serious incidents during that last year or two it has become more noticeable, through reports in the press and on social media, that the vast majority of the travelling public do not have even a vague understanding of the environment in which they travel. Nor how mechanically robust and technically efficient the modern aircraft of today really are.

Preventative Measures to Effective Education

Although ICAO have greatly upgraded recommended minimum standards/requirements when it comes to the pre-flight passenger briefings, there appears to be little if any consistency in ‘delivery’ of the content. As a result, just how effective is the ‘required’ briefing to the passenger?

Within airline operators there is still the tussle between ‘Safety vs Service’? What adverse effect does that ongoing struggle – where the marketing department succeeds, present to appropriate and effective delivery of safety information?

Recommended Methodology for a Positive Way Forward

Key words and images to be added to the pre-flight briefing that will immediately attract attention and create some understanding of how important one’s own action will be in an emergency situation? During flight, particularly immediately after take-off and prior to landing, introducing key phrases in an attempt to establish some level of awareness.

As an example – phrases that will inform what to expect should there be a failure of cabin pressure … i.e. aircraft will commence rapid descent as an operational requirement.