Evacuation commands
Date issue released
Safety Issue Description

Qantas's cabin crew primary evacuation commands did not include phrases such as 'leave everything behind' and 'jump and slide'; instead, these phrases were optional. Consequently, passengers would generally not receive specific guidance until they reached an exit, which would likely slow down the evacuation.

Issue number
AO-2019-073-SI-01
Issue Status
Open – Safety action pending
Transport Function
Aviation: Air transport
Issue Owner
Qantas Airways Limited
Mode of Transport
Aviation
Proactive action
Action number
AO-2019-073-PSA-43
Organisation
Qantas Airways Limited
Action Status
Closed
Action description

Qantas advised in April 2022 that it was conducting a risk assessment for the inclusion of ‘leave everything behind’ in its primary evacuation commands.  

Organisation Response
Date Received
Organisation
Qantas Airways Limited
Response Text

Qantas advised that, following a risk assessment for the inclusion of the command 'leave everything behind' in the cabin crew primary evacuation commands, they determined that it would not make a discernible change to the outcome of an evacuation. Therefore, Qantas would not be making any change to their primary evacuation commands.

ATSB Response

The ATSB acknowledges the review and risk assessment undertaken by Qantas. However, the importance of including the phrases identified in the safety issue as primary evacuation commands is supported by guidance provided by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the aircraft manufacturer, and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

While Qantas has the phrases identified as 'other recommended commands' in their procedures, this event highlighted that, without overtraining, it is unlikely that cabin crew will utilise these commands. Alternatively, if they do use these commands, passengers may have already stopped at a slide, or brought their cabin baggage with them. Clear, concise instructions to passengers in an evacuation are pertinent to ensure that the correct actions are taken at the appropriate time, and that passengers evacuate as quickly and safely as possible.

ATSB Response date
Proactive action
Action number
AO-2019-073-PSA-03
Organisation
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action Status
Closed
Action description

In November 2021, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority released Cabin safety bulletin 26 – Brace and evacuation commands which provided guidance on commands that can be used during an evacuation. The bulletin highlights that there needs to be emphasis on cabin crew being ready to manage passengers that bring cabin baggage to exits during an evacuation. The bulletin also suggests that once the evacuation command is given that passengers be instructed to ‘leave everything behind’ and that this command should be repeated throughout the evacuation.

Recommended commands when an exit is opened for an aircraft with dual laned slides were also included in the bulletin and included ‘form two lines’ and ‘come this way’ followed by ‘jump and slide’ or ‘sit and slide’ for upper deck slides.