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The Plane Truth – by Kanishka Sinha, AsiaWorks Associate, India
In his book ‘Outliers’, Malcolm Gladwell relates the case study of how Korean airlines turned around their safety record.
Between 1988 and 1998 Korean airlines had a loss rate of 4.79 per million departures – 17 times higher than a typical American carrier like United Airlines over the same period. It was one of the most infamous safety records in the world and became a source of national shame. However since 1999 its safety record is spotless and in 2006 it was given the Phoenix Award by Air Transport World in recognition of its transformation.
David Greenberg, who was hired to turn things around, made one crucial but puzzling change – he incurred huge training costs and changed the language of conversation of the pilots and crew to English. It was mandated that they speak to each other in a language they were uncomfortable with.