RAAA chairman calls for regulator to step up pace of reform

Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) chairman Jim Davis. (Seth Jaworski)

Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) chairman Jim Davis says the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) needs to “get serious” about reform to ensure the local industry can better compete internationally.

Specifically, Davis called for CASA regulations to be properly harmonised with relevant overseas authorities such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

This would allow, for example, CASA aircraft and component certification standards to be recognised by those overseas regulators.

The benefit of this, Davis said, would be local manufacturers being able to sell parts or aircraft into overseas markets, and reduced costs for maintenance, repair and overhaul firms to receive CASA approvals should they already hold EASA or FAA approvals.

Further, Davis said implementing the key recommendations of the Aviation Safety Regulatory Review in relation to cultural change at CASA had been much slower than expected and called on the federal government to issue a new Statement of Expectations to CASA to kick start the process.

And the clock was ticking on the opportunity for change.

“I believe we have only a small window of the next two years to accomplish significant change in these areas or the chance may be missed,” Davis told delegates during his opening address at the RAAA national convention at the NSW Hunter Valley on Thursday.

“The past two years have been quite frustrating for both industry and the regulator with a lot promised and not a lot delivered. It is now time for CASA to push the reset button.”

David noted that over the past 12 months since the 2015 convention, there has been leadership change at CASA, Airservices and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

There is also a new minister responsible for aviation, with Darren Chester taking over from the retiring Warren Truss as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

Davis reiterated previous calls for ASRR author David Forsyth to conduct a review of the progress made since the landmark report was handed down in June 2014. The government accepted the bulk of the recommendations.

“The government’s scorecard on its ASRR implementation and the industry’s differs somewhat,” Davis said.

“It is not enough for bureaucrats to tick boxes.”

Davis expressed frustration with the problems caused by CASA Part 61, the new suite of regulations for ratings, licences and endorsements, and Part 142 covering flying training.

“These regs now have so many bandaids on them that they resemble an Egyptian mummy,” Davis said.

“It just goes to show that you must get it right the first time and we know that there is a new will in CASA to try and do this in the future.

“Much still remains to be done in this area and other areas and we will be engaged in that in the coming year.

In November 2015, CASA assigned a dedicated team of 26 full time staff to address issues covered by the new regulations.

And in June, the regulator published a new timeline for regulatory change in response to feedback from industry.

Davis said the introduction of new fatigue risk management rules under Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 48.1, which has been deferred for a further 12 months, had been a “debacle”.

 

Australian Aviation

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