That is a very good question and I'm sorry if I gave the impression that the human aspect was not important. Our work is to save lives and improve safety. That is why we are proposing safety management systems.
The human aspect is a different one. We identified key elements that enabled us to improve air transportation safety over the last 60 or 70 years. Several technical improvements were made. In the early 1960s, we improved the reliability of plane engines by introducing jet powered airplanes. This was followed by some very significant improvements in electronics and air navigation. We did almost everything possible in terms of technical improvements in order to further reduce the number of accidents.
Safety management systems focus primarily on people. What can people, who intervene at various levels within an airline, do to improve safety? How can we improve communications between airline employees, who are all safety and aviation professionals? What can we do to enable them to report on what is not working within the company, without running the risk of being punished by that company? These are people, professionals, who are raising shortcomings and encouraging the business to examine them and do something to resolve them.
The whole philosophy of the SMS is based on people. I'm very pleased that you raised that question.
Allow me to respond to your question about flight attendants. Transport Canada would not make any recommendations that would decrease aviation safety. We demonstrated that in 2001 when we rejected a proposal concerning flight attendants because we were convinced that that would lead to a decrease in safety.
The proposal we have before us today is not the same as the one we had in 2001. We are sure that the level of safety under a 1 to 50 ratio would be equivalent to that under current regulations that provides for a 1 to 40 ratio.
I could provide you with more details but I don't want to take time away from questioning.