The ‘Miracle’ Haneda Escape and the Place in France That Respects JAL’s Safety Culture

The crash involving Japan Airlines (JAL) flight JL516 (Airbus A350-900, registration number: JA13XJ) and a Japan Coast Guard aircraft at Haneda Airport shocked the aviation industry. Unfortunately, five Coast Guard officers lost their lives, but the fact that all 367 passengers and 12 crew members, totaling 379 people, safely evacuated was met with astonishment and called a ‘miracle’ both domestically and internationally.

Amidst the chaos within the burning aircraft, media reports have highlighted that the successful evacuation was due to the flight attendants’ accurate judgment and calm instructions. This incident has significantly heightened the awareness of the role of flight attendants as ‘safety officers’.

On the south side of Haneda Airport’s Terminal 1, in front of the Tokyo Monorail’s New Maintenance Base Station, stands JAL’s office building, home to the ‘Safety Promotion Center’.

▲The Safety Promotion Center located at Haneda Airport (Photo courtesy of JAL/Below three images)

The JL123 crash on August 12, 1985, claimed 520 lives. Determined not to let this tragedy be forgotten, JAL opened this Center on April 24, 2006, preserving the remaining aircraft body (Boeing 747-SR100, registration number: JA8119) and passengers’ belongings. It serves as a training facility for the group, emphasizing the importance of each employee’s role in ensuring passenger safety and as the foundation for safe flights. The facility also displays ‘safety declarations’ written by employees after their visit.

The complete evacuation of passengers and crew in the January 2 incident can be attributed to the deeply ingrained safety culture within JAL, from flight attendants to pilots and the entire company.

Meanwhile, in Toulouse, France, at the Airbus final assembly plant, there lies the ‘Airbus Safety Promotion Center’.

Interestingly, this facility was established on February 28, 2023, by Airbus executives who were impressed after visiting JAL’s Safety Promotion Center. The entrance panel explicitly states “inspired by Japan Airlines”.

The exhibition space, bearing the slogan “Safety is everyone’s business”, features panels explaining the history of all accidents involving Airbus aircraft and how past accidents have informed improvements in aviation systems and operations. In the central screening area, vivid images of accident scenes and bereaved families emphasize the tragedy of aviation accidents, the preciousness of life, and the importance of safety awareness.

According to the exhibition materials, 3,456 people have lost their lives in Airbus aircraft accidents. Nicolas Bardou, the Airbus Safety Communication & Crisis Response Advisor, emphasized, “It is crucial for all employees to visit this facility to remember this fact and establish a safety consciousness.”

▲Airbus Safety Communication & Crisis Response Advisor Nicolas Bardou

Over 5,000 employees and stakeholders have visited this center so far, and there are plans to establish similar facilities in Airbus sites and factories outside France, such as in Hamburg, Germany, and Getafe, Spain.

Bardou stated, “We have learned from past accidents and consistently used those lessons for improvement. The cause of the Haneda accident is not fully understood yet. Still, the memories and lessons of this accident will undoubtedly contribute to the further advancement of air safety.”

This article was generated using automatic translation by GPT-4 API.
The translation may not be accurate.