The importance of a second opinion

28 oktober 2019

Due to the increasing public awareness of the impact the industry has on the environment, sustainability is a topic that is high on the agenda within the aviation community. With the increasing public awareness of the global environmental impact, the aviation industry cannot be acquitted.

As a consequence of this increasing public focus, more than ever it is important not to lose the public confidence by making any mistakes when taking a stand concerning environmental issues. Small errors in calculations for example, can easily lead to naming and shaming with possible economic consequences for the company concerned. Nothing could damage a professional’s credibility as quickly as an error, let alone leaving the public in doubt. All the more reason for the industry to say: “Better safe than sorry”.

Unlike in the medical industry, a second opinion – or contra-expertise, as one can call it – does not provide a customer a second research result on the question concerned. A contra-expertise is an essential double check, focussing on the correctness of the previous research instead. Three main focus points of a contra-expertise are:

  • Data integrity: which data sources have been used and why;
  • Technical integrity: which calculation models have been used and why;
  • Validation of assumptions: do the results make sense and are they conform the agreed assumptions and/or the applicable laws and regulations.

The results of the research can be negatively influenced by e.g. defining the wrong assumptions, misunderstandings, incorrect data links or simply lack of time. No matter how the error was caused, outsiders can imply these errors are either deceptive or caused because of a lack of caring. Hence, it is of importance to have the research calculations checked by an independent third party before drawing any conclusions and publishing the results. A contra-expertise should include the following:

  • A statement whether any critical mistakes were discovered in the research concerned, and if so, whether they were corrected right away;
  • A conclusion whether the research reached a result in a correct matter, based on methodology and calculations;
  • A provision of recommendations for future research.

Some might feel that the entire process of a contra-expertise is costly and time-consuming. However, considering the increasing public focus on the environmental impact of aviation and the associated reliability threats, it is better to stay safe. A contra-expertise can lead to an increase in public trust, as far as the research results are concerned, and subsequently increased trust in the companies and/or government involved.

Performing a contra-expertise requires substantive knowledge of the specific research topics to be checked. We, as Adecs Airinfra Consultants, have extensive experience in conducting contra-expertises on airport environmental studies, including the impact of noise, third party risk and emissions. If you would like to receive more information, please feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to assist you!

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