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Our Programs & Aircraft
June 2019

Aviation Safety: Always our Top Priority

An interview with Vice President of Safety, Richard Meikle
NetJets’ focus on safety permeates every decision and role in the organization, creating an unmatched culture of safety in the aviation industry. Leading this unwavering commitment to safety is our Vice President of Safety, Richard Meikle.

Q: How does NetJets ensure optimal safety for its Owners?

A: First of all, as a Berkshire Hathaway company, NetJets has the financial stability and resources to continually invest in safety. This includes cross-company training, the newest avionics, and ensuring the right programs and processes are in place. While it may seem obvious, to maintain total control over the fleet, we never lend program aircraft to other private charter operators or use contract pilots. Additionally, our jets are always under the custody of maintenance or the flight crew, which means our Owners are in good hands at all times. Second, NetJets hires only the most experienced, best-trained pilots and flight attendants. Our pilots focus their expertise on one specific type of aircraft, which means they know it better than anyone.
Quote Open
“The resources NetJets engages in managing safety are enormous. Beyond the team of safety professionals formally trained in their respective areas, the sheer volume of assets provides a huge safety margin.”
Richard Meikle, VP, Safety, NetJetsQuote Closed
A: In the situation where an aircraft has mechanical faults or a crewmember becomes ill, NetJets’ resources allow for an average recovery time of less than 60 minutes. So, crewmembers know that they can call for a replacement aircraft or crew at any time. And NetJets supports crewmembers removing themselves from duty if not fit for flight—without fear of retribution.

Additionally, NetJets engages a second set of professionally trained eyes on the flight, with a dual-release process to ensure every flight is approved by both the captain and a licensed dispatcher before takeoff. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, we have dedicated teams that constantly monitor upcoming flights to ensure that every aspect, such as airport status, weather, etc., is assessed and controlled.

Q: What does it mean to have a safety culture in aviation?

A: Safety culture in the aviation industry is not a concept or process. It is a living, ever-changing undercurrent supporting safe decisions. With commitment at all levels, everyone must live and practice safety, not just when auditors or visitors are on the property, but every minute of every day. At NetJets, our focus on safety permeates every decision, every investment, and every role in our organization. Starting with our Executive Leadership Team to the newest employee, everyone has the same responsibility, which is to live the 20/20 Flight Plan. The first and most important aspect of the plan is safety. More specifically, to lead the industry in safety and compliance practices and standards and keep safety a part of every job and activity.

We achieve this safety culture in aviation using the core fundamentals defined by James Reason, Ph.D., a world-renowned expert on human error and organizational processes. Specifically, NetJets maintains an Informed Culture whereby leadership has purposeful insight into the hazards and risks present. This exists because of a strong Reporting Culture in which employees come forward with safety concerns because they recognize that they will be treated with respect and fairness through a Just Culture. Finally, NetJets utilizes a Learning Culture in that we apply best practices and lessons learned from previous events to prevent future events.

Q: How do your Maintenance Teams contribute to a culture of safety?

A: For 17 consecutive years, we have been recognized for the proactive and extensive training of our NetJets Aviation Maintenance Technicians with the FAA Employer Diamond Award of Excellence. In addition, NetJets ensures all program aircraft are maintained to the highest possible standard, utilizing the aircraft manufacturers for major inspections.
Read the first part of our safety interview with Richard Meikle.
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