Director General of Civil Aviation, Traficom, Finland
My name is Jari Pöntinen and I was appointed as Director General of Civil Aviation in Finland on 1 January 2020. Before this appointment, I had been working for the Finnish CAA since October 2015 holding various aviation-related responsibilities. My previous experience in aviation was with airlines, where I served as a pilot for 29 years building 12 700 flight hours. Today, I still have a valid airline transport pilot licence (ATPL), A330 type rating and a Class I medical certificate.
Throughout my airline career, I have held various flight operations management responsibilities, in addition to pilot duties. These have included management positions and responsibilities in connection with flight planning, operating minima, winter operations including de- / anti-icing, technical and ATM-related duties and regulatory responsibilities. I graduated from the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Finnair Flight Academy.
Based on my experience in operational duties and flight safety-related management positions, flight safety-related issues also lie very close to my heart in my current position. It doesn't matter how state-of-the-art technology is, without a safety-minded attitude and understanding by personnel, we are treading on very thin ice. And this is valid for personnel working in all positions - from airworthiness issues, runway sweeping and maintenance through de- / anti-icing, to flight planning, and finally covering flight operations itself. Not forgetting organisation management, of course, which has a huge role to play in the attitude towards and understanding of safety. Safety costs - but how much does an accident cost, and what kind of human pain might there be if your airline suffers an accident resulting in several casualties and injured passengers.
Operators, including airport operators and ground handling companies, are responsible for their business and safety activities by themselves, of course. The role of the authorities, in addition to confirming compliance, should be as a partner who is able to give added value to the operator. With this kind of partnership between authorities and industry it is important to remember each other's roles and responsibilities. Today, however, it doesn't make sense that authorities should only be needed to confirm industry compliance; no, as already mentioned, we need to find ways to benefit from the authorities' expertise and work together properly with the industry.
An essential element when working with a partnership in mind are the regulatory issues. We should have more performance-oriented regulation so that not only compliance counts but also how well you have actually adopted the spirit of regulation and how well you carry out your responsibilities. Reporting and analysing reports are another issue. Having actions for proper countermeasures is a fundamental way of demonstrating your performance. Analysis is needed from both industry and the authorities, which leads to data-driven decision-making where facts count, not feelings.
Coming back to my objectives as DGCA Finland, I must highlight this again: safety management and performance-based standardisation as well as performance-based regulation and data-driven decision-making, are the objectives I am committed to working towards.