This article on Foreign Airline Safety versus U.S. Major Airlines comes from Philip Greenspun via Michael’s Beebo blog (yeah, yeah – it’s from a while ago, but I don’t really keep up with blogging).
Greenspun takes issue with Malcolm Gladwell’s cultural explanation of poorer safety records of foreign airlines which he paraphrases thus:
Gladwell comes to the conclusion that foreigners are unsafe because they are … foreign. They have a strange and defective culture that prevents the first officer (copilot) from speaking up and pointing out problems to the captain. If only everyone were American, the world would be a better and safer place.
This article explores an alternative explanation: foreign airlines do comparatively poorly because their first officers have almost no pilot-in-command experience.