On July 16 2015 Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) Resolution 505/15 was published in the Official Gazette. It establishes a national plan for responding to aviation emergencies based on Annex XIV of the Chicago Convention and Document 9137 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Aims

The plan aims to establish the measures required to assist to victims of aviation accidents and their families and to gather operational and technical information relating to aviation accidents for national and foreign authorities and the media.

Definitions

The resolution defines:

  • an 'accident' as an incident involving an aircraft;
  • a 'contingency' as an emergency caused by an individual, such as sabotage or a bomb on board an aircraft;
  • an 'emergency' as an event that causes danger, a catastrophe or a disruption to air transport; and
  • 'family' as including spouses, parents, children, siblings and adopted family members of victims.

The resolution identifies the three phases of an emergency as 'uncertainty', 'alert' and 'peril'.

Response strategy

If an accident occurs at an airport, ANAC is responsible for providing a response strategy; whereas if the accident occurs elsewhere, Civil Defence assumes that responsibility. In the latter case, Civil Defence must immediately contact ANAC and the National Investigation Board (JIAAC) in the event of an emergency.

If an accident takes place at an airport and is considered to be 'level red' (ie, involving an aircraft carrying more than 20 passengers), ANAC must immediately meet with members of the Crisis Committee, which comprises members of the various civil aviation agencies.

ANAC contact person

The director of ANAC must appoint a contact person from his or her personnel who, following an accident, must immediately contact the airline operator involved as well as the transit service. The contact person must ensure that the operator provides a list of passengers, including their nationalities, and must then immediately contact the JIAA, the Aeronautical Police, the National Airport System Regulatory Board and the Meteorological Agency. The resolution sets out the obligations of the different aeronautical offices (operational security, air transport, infrastructure, air navigation inspection and administrative and legal offices).

Assisting victims and families

Annex II of the resolution establishes a Protocol of Assistance for Victims of Air Accidents and Their Families. It sets out the minimum assistance that ANAC and operators must provide to victims and families, such as emotional and psychological support, material assistance and objective information about the accident, which must be provided at least every three hours.

ANAC must confirm that the aircraft was duly certified and that the operator certificate and route were approved. It must also ensure that the aviation police, the immigration office and other agencies involved coordinate to provide security, visas for family members and any relevant support needed. ANAC must also contact the consulates of any foreign victims to notify them of the emergency.

Separate facilities must be organised at the relevant airport to provide information for victims, crew members and their families on the one hand and to the press on the other.

The operator in question must establish an assistance centre for victims, crew members and their families, at its own cost, to provide psychological, emotional and material support.

Providing information

Information regarding aviation emergencies must be objective and correct and provided by the operator's airport manager or an employee of a similar or higher status in the company. Passengers, crew members and their families must be accurately informed of their rights. The operator must follow the ANAC-approved assistance programme.

Annex III of the resolution outlines a communications protocol, which describes how information should be provided to families, the press and the public. ANAC must publish relevant information on its website and on social media. A communications committee must also be established. Only one committee member should report information to the media. The information provided must be objective and accurate.

The resolution grants operators two years from July 16 2015 to present their own guidelines on assisting victims of air accidents and their families to ANAC for approval.

For further information on this topic please contact Elizabeth Mireya Freidenberg at Freidenberg Freidenberg & Lifsic by telephone (+54 11 4311 4991) or email (emf@emfrl.com.ar).

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