Tigerair Australia to return to Bali from February 3 with Airbus A320s


Tigerair Australia will operate its Airbus A320s internationally for the first time from February 3 after securing the green light to return to Bali.

The breakthrough in negotiations between the airline and Indonesian authorities comes after Tigerair was forced to suspend flights to the popular tourist destination on January 10 due to what it said were “new administrative requirements”.

Since the January 10 suspension, Tigerair and its owner Virgin Australia have operated a number of relief flights bringing passengers stranded in Bali back to Australia.

The low-cost carrier had also stopped ticket sales for all its Bali services – Tigerair flies to Bali from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth – up to and including March 25.

Tigerair said on Thursday it planned to resume flying to Bali with its Airbus A320 fleet, rather than the Boeing 737-800s that it was operating to Bali prior to the suspension.

“Tigerair Australia has received a key approval from the Indonesian Government to operate scheduled flights to and from Bali using its Airbus A320 aircraft,” the airline said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

“Tigerair plans to resume its normal Bali flying schedule from 3 February 2017, subject to final procedural approvals being secured.”

Passengers booked to travel on Tigerair to Bali between January 20 and February 3 will be offered full refunds, the airline said.

Further, Tigerair said it planned to again start selling tickets for flight scheduled between February 3 and March 25.

Indonesian authorities suspended Tigerair’s flights to Bali due to the airline being in breach of its licence conditions, according to media reports in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said Tigerair did not comply with its charter flight permit for flights to Bali.

The DGCA said Tigerair was only able to sell tickets for passengers originating in Australia and not Indonesia under its license. Further, the sale of one-way tickets was also prohibited under the Tigerair permit.

The Indonesian media reports noted Tigerair’s approvals to operate flights from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth to Bali were for the period October 30 2016 to March 25 2017, meaning the move to suspend the airline came with a little over two months remaining on its licence.

Tigerair began flights to Bali in March 2016, taking over the Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth to Bali routes from parent Virgin.

The low-cost carrier used three Virgin Boeing 737-800s that were repainted in Tigerair livery to operate its first international services. The aircraft, which remained on Virgin’s air operator’s certificate (AOC) and were flown by Virgin pilots alongside Tigerair cabin crew.

The resumption of Tigerair flights to Bali was understood to be under a new permit for regular public transport (RPT) operations under its own AOC, rather than the charter permit the LCC was operating under before its flights with Virgin aircraft were suspended.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) website showed the Tigerair AOC was most recently updated in November 2016 for three years.

A Tigerair spokesperson said the updated AOC gave the airline approval to operate international flights to Bali under its own AOC using its fleet of 14 Airbus A320s.

Tigerair has a second application before CASA to add the 737 as a fleet type onto its AOC as part of its transition from Airbus A320s to 737-800s over the next three years, with pilot training for the 737 already underway.


Australian Aviation

Civil Aviation Safety Authority seeking industry views on pilot medicals


Australia’s aviation safety regulator is seeking industry views on potential changes to pilot medical requirements.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has released a discussion paper entitled “Medical Certification Standards”, which outlines six potential options that could be considered for future consultation.

CASA acting chief executive and director of aviation safety Shane Carmody said in the discussion paper’s introduction aviation medicine was “complex”, given the medical, regulatory and legal issues that needed to be considered.

“The discussion paper is intended to stimulate debate and raise awareness about our current approach to aviation medicine, the propriety of current medical fitness standards, the factors involved in aeromedical decision-making and related considerations and developments internationally and in other jurisdictions,” Carmody said.

“Ultimately, our objective is to identify modifications to our approach that will make the most sense for Australia today and in the future.”

The discussion paper noted the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations currently had four types of medical certification – class one for those holding air transport commercial or multi-pilot licence; class two for private pilots; class three for air traffic controllers; and a recreational aviation medical practitioner’s certificate (RAMPC).

A medical assessment from a specialist designated aviation medical examiner (DAME) is required to receive, and retain, Class one, two and three certification.

“Historically, the aviation medical system in Australia has monitored the health of all pilots – those involved in commercial air transport as well as pilots operating general and sport/recreational aircraft,” the discussion paper said.

“The question now being asked by industry (both in Australia and worldwide) is whether the same general approach taken to monitor the health of pilots involved in air transport as a career is appropriate for all other licence holders as well.”

“A number of other countries have introduced (or are considering) different approaches to medical certification.

“These include assigning a more prominent role in the medical certification process to doctors outside the aviation medicine specialisations, or in some cases, greater degrees of self-certification.

“Any relaxation of existing requirements will rely more heavily on the integrity and insight of the pilot and will necessitate the need for additional education or training.”

While the paper contained no proposals or draft regulations, it outlined six options that could be considered.

These included:

  • continuing the existing medical certification requirements and arrangements (status quo);
    re-assessing risk tolerances which inform medical certifications standards in the context of industry and community expectations;
  • examining and streamlining medical certification practices across the various certification standards, including the approach to assessing incapacitation risk;
  • aligning certification standards across the sport and recreational sectors by revising the recreational aviation medical practitioner’s certificate to make it both more accessible to pilots and more widely applicable;
  • developing a new medical certificate for the sport and recreational sectors which considers overseas approaches with elements of self-certification; and
  • mitigating the risks of any changes by applying operational restrictions.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the discussion paper formed “the basis for any future consultation between CASA and the aviation community on potential changes to medical certification”.

“I welcome this consultation process which is intended to streamline medical requirements for pilots in the future,” Chester said in a statement.

“In particular, I am keen to see what improvements can be made to the private pilot medical requirements to help alleviate regulatory and cost burdens in the general aviation sector.

“It is essential that any changes that are made are assessed against safety and risk considerations.”

The due date for submissions is March 30 2017.

The full discussion paper can be read on the CASA website here.


Australian Aviation

Etihad Airways Engineering receives CASA certification

A supplied image of an Etihad Airways Engineering worker conducting a maintenance check. (Etihad)

A supplied image of an Etihad Airways Engineering worker conducting a maintenance check. (Etihad)

Australian carriers have a new offshore option to send aircraft for their regular maintenance checks after Etihad Airways Engineering received certification from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The engineering arm of the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has been granted CASR Part 145 Maintenance Organisation approval, the company said on Tuesday.

“This recognition means Etihad Airways Engineering is able to provide base maintenance services for the latest Airbus and Boeing aircraft – the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – as well as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 and A320 families of aircraft,” Etihad said.

In Australia, Qantas conducts heavy maintenance for its fleet of Airbus A330-200/300s in-house at the company’s Brisbane maintenance facility.

Meanwhile, its Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400/400ERs, as well as Virgin Australia’s Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330-200s, have their heavy maintenance checks completed at overseas workshops.

Heavy maintenance of Tigerair Australia and Jetstar’s A320 fleets were also conducted overseas.

Etihad Airways Engineering chief executive Jeff Wilkinson said he was pleased to have received CASA approval.

“We have been expanding our global customer base in line with our growing capabilities, particularly on new platforms like the A380 and the Boeing 787,” Wilkinson said in a statement.

“We are proud to have achieved compliance with CASA’s stringent regulatory standards and look forward to bring our industry leading aircraft maintenance and engineering solutions to aircraft operators in Australia.”


Australian Aviation

Shane Carmody promises a “a firm, fair and balanced” Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Acting CASA director of aviation safety and chief executive Shane Carmody. (Seth Jaworski)

Rather than merely keeping the seat warm until a permanent replacement is named, Shane Carmody says he intends to exercise the full authority of his office to maintain the pace of reform at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

In his first public speech to industry since starting as acting director of aviation safety and chief executive earlier in October, Carmody said the “acting” in his job title had little bearing on how he would conduct affairs at CASA.

“Don’t be fooled by the acting title. I don’t act real well,” Carmody told delegates at the Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) National Convention at the NSW Hunter Valley on Friday.

“My appointment was agreed by the board and it was agreed by Cabinet.

“As far as I’m concerned I’ve got full authority, which I will use, and I have got full accountability, which I will wear for the decisions that I make and the decisions that go with the position.

“Over the next few months I intend to meet with anyone who is interested in improving aviation safety and I would really welcome [that] opportunity.”

Carmody has replaced Mark Skidmore, who resigned less than two years into his five-year term as CASA director of aviation safety and chief executive, citing personal reasons.

During Skidmore’s tenure as chief he undertook an organisational overhaul of CASA’s structure, forming three main groups – a stakeholder engagement group, an aviation group and a sustainability group – as part of the aviation safety regulator’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulatory Review (ASRR).

The retired RAAF air vice-marshal has also sought to respond to the views of industry, including issuing a new timetable for regulatory changes, including those covering general operating rules, air transport operations, aerial work, continuing airworthiness and maintenance for small aircraft, small aircraft maintenance licensing, sport and recreational operations and unmanned aircraft.

A new timeline on the implementation of the new regulations was also announced.

Nonetheless, there remained frustration within the aviation industry at the slow pace of change at CASA.

Carmody said CASA was still working its way through the recommendations from the Aviation Safety Regulatory Review (ASRR), which he described as a priority.

“My focus is on delivering a firm, fair and balanced aviation safety regulation system, promoting a positive and collaborative approach,” Carmody said.

“Many would argue that CASA doesn’t always get this right and I agree absolutely. But the industry doesn’t always get it right either and a lot of you would agree with that.”

“So somewhere in between is the reality.”

Carmody said a decision on a permanent replacement to Mark Skidmore was “not expected until well into the new year”.

“Noting that the last appointment took about six months, so this one could take a while,” Carmody said.

The new CASA head also used his speech to address the contentious issues of new regulations covering the commercial use of drones and pilot fatigue.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester has recently announced a review of new rules covering the operation of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs).

The new rules have drawn criticism from pilot groups and independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who aims to strike down the regulations in federal parliament.

Carmody said initial figures showed 1,350 operators had notified CASA they were commercially operating RPAs of less than two kilograms since the new rules came into effect on September 29.

Separately, Carmody said CASA would conduct an independent and comprehensive review on fatigue limits. CASA has extended the deadline for implementing Civil Aviation Order 48.1 covering fatigue risk management by a further 12 months.


Australian Aviation

CASA delays implementation of new fatigue rules

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has deferred the introduction of new fatigue risk management regulations for a further 12 months.

The regulator said in a statement on Friday that operators would now have until May 1 2018 to transition to the proposed new provisions in Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 48.1, which covered fatigue risk management. It is the second time CASA has pushed back the implementation of CAO 48.1.

CASA said the extension was in response to feedback from the aviation community, including from a series of workshops conducted across Australia between May and July 2016.

Further, CASA it would conduct an “independent and comprehensive review of fatigue limits” during the extended transition period.

“This feedback indicated there was a need for CASA to provide more support through education and information on the new fatigue rules,” CASA said.

“Air operators also wanted more time to consider their options under CAO 48.1, with a number asking for extra time to develop and implement fatigue risk management systems.

“CASA is committed to modernising and improving the safety regulation of fatigue and is encouraging a continued focus on fatigue management by air operators.”


The Australian Aviation Associations’ Forum (TAAAF), which comprises peak representative bodies in the local industry, had previously called on CASA to abolish CAO 48.1, arguing that “industry rejects the limited science it is based on, the ignoring of decades of safe operations, the massive costs it will impose and the complexity that will inevitably lead to non-compliance”.

But the Australian Airline Pilots Association (AusALPA) said its members were “very concerned” about the delay and described fatigue as a “clear safety issue” given how often it had been cited as a contributing factor in recent aviation accidents and incidents.

The association, which represents about 6,000 professional pilots in Australia, called on CASA to implement the new regulations in May 2017 as planned.

“AusALPA is deeply concerned that the further delay only serves the commercial interests of industry bodies, such as the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, instead of an improved, more scientific approach to pilot fatigue risk management,” AusALPA president and Qantas Boeing 737 pilot Nathan Safe said in a statement.

Captain David Booth, vice-president of AusALPA and a Virgin 737 pilot said: “These delays have rewarded those operators who have chosen not to work towards science-based solutions. Even those who have commenced the transition may cease work awaiting the outcome of the review.”

CASA said operators that have transitioned to the fatigue rules in CAO 48.1 would be able to continue to operate under the new provisions.


Australian Aviation

Pilots and air traffic controllers raise concerns over new drone regulations

DJI drone 1

Pilots and air traffic controller groups have called for new Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations on the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to be thrown out due to safety concerns.

Under new rules that came into effect from Thursday, commercial operators of RPAs, or drones, weighing less than two kilograms did not have to apply to CASA for a certificate and licence.

Instead, operators fill out an online notification form detailing the specifications of the aircraft for CASA’s records.

Operators were also required to fly the aircraft under a number of specific conditions, including that they only be used during daylight hours and in line of sight, be more than 30 metres away from people and more than 5.5 kilometres away from a controlled airport. Their use over populous areas such as beaches, parks and sporting ovals, as well as near emergency operations such as bushfires, accidents or search and rescue areas, was also prohibited.

CASA said in a statement on its website the new rules “cut the cost and red tape of operating very small commercial drones while protecting public safety”.

“This means very small commercial drone operators can avoid the requirement to pay about $1400 in regulatory fees, as well as the need to develop manuals and other documentation,” CASA said.

“Operators must acknowledge they know and will follow the strict operating conditions and will comply with the Civil Aviation Act and regulations. Penalties can be issued by CASA for breaches of the regulations.”

The rules were first proposed in 2014, when CASA issued a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) for amendments to CASR Part 101.

John Lyons, the president of the union representing Virgin Australia group pilots VIPA, said the risk of an aircraft hitting a drone, which is also called an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), had “increased considerably” with the introduction of the new rules.

“CASA has been forced to lift the licensing restriction on UAVs as a result of the explosion in small low-cost drones available to the public and its lack of resources to monitor illegal use,” Captain Lyons said in a statement on Friday.

“Small drones in unqualified hands equate to a potentially lethal weapon. They are prone to loss of control, battery and structural failure. Even a small UAV falling out of the sky over a public area can cause lethal injury and serious damage.

“A drone inadvertently or deliberately flown into the path of an airliner on approach to or departing an airport could easily cause a disaster.”

Meanwhile, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP), Civil Air Australia and Australian Certified UAV Operators (ACUO), were considering a High Court appeal if the regulations were not changed, according to a statement from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, which is assisting the trio on the matter.

Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) president David Booth said there was a growing problem of rogue drones violating controlled airspace at primary airports.

“In the last month alone we have had at least two instances of drones being on approach paths to runways in Sydney,” Captain Booth said in a statement on Wednesday. “I personally have flown in airspace that has been violated by drones during the last 12 months.”

“In one incident a drone was sighted at 12,000 feet (FL120) north of Sydney which led to the broadcast of a hazard alert by ATC and deviation off the planned flight path. Another pilot I know had a near miss with a drone at 1,000 feet at the Gold Coast airport.”

Civil Air president Tom McRobert said: “There are some really good operators out there that show professionalism but I fear they are the minority. Drones and especially their use in built up areas without proper regulation and enforcement is a recipe for disaster.”

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers aviation special counsel Joseph Wheeler said having no licensing mechanism for UAV’s weighing less than two kilograms meant there would be “no legal recourse to claim medical expenses or economic loss as the result of injuries” if the operator could not be identified.


Australian Aviation

CASA appoints Shane Carmody as acting CEO and DAS


Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has appointed Shane Carmody as acting chief executive and director of aviation safety (DAS).

Carmody is currently a deputy secretary at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development with responsibility for aviation and airports, the Office of Transport Security, the Western Sydney Unit and local government and territories.

He will take over from outgoing CASA chief executive and DAS Mark Skidmore, who announced his resignation on August 26 and is expected to leave the organisation in October, while CASA undertakes a global search for a permanent replacement.

CASA chairman Jeff Boyd said Carmody would “provide the appropriate leadership and stability as CASA continues to deliver the organisational transformation program”.

“Mr Carmody joins CASA at a time when the organisation has undergone a period of significant change with the major restructure of the organisation and a renewed focus on stakeholder engagement and collaboration to deliver improved aviation safety outcomes,” Boyd said in a statement on Thursday.

“A number of improvements including the development and implementation of CASA’s new regulatory philosophy and just culture throughout the organisation will continue to be delivered.”

Carmody worked at CASA for about three years between 2006 and 2009 as deputy chief executive for strategy and support. He also worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defence.


Australian Aviation

CASA lifts restrictions on Jabiru engines

A Jabiru J230

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has issued a new direction on the operation of aircraft with Jabiru engines, offering relief from operational restrictions provided certain requirements were met.

“The maintenance-related actions set out in the direction include adopting the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, inspecting certain engine components and replacing engine through bolts in accordance with the relevant Jabiru service bulletin,” CASA said in a statement.

“The timing of through bolt replacement varies if the aircraft has been used in flying training.

“Operators must continue to observe the limitations if they do not take the actions set out in the CASA direction.”

In December 2014, CASA issued limitations on operators of Jabiru-powered aircraft, including restricting the flights to daylight hours and away from populated areas.

CASA also required trainee pilots to have successfully completed engine failure exercises before attempting solo flights.

The regulator said at the time there had been about 40 identified incidents of Jabiru engine problems in 2014, ranging “from full and partial power loss and inflight engine shutdowns to rough running and oil leaks”.

In July 2015, CASA has eased one of the regulations regarding carrying passengers.

Bundaberg-based Jabiru makes four-cylinder 2200cc and six-cylinder 3300cc aircraft engines. Figures from CASA indicated about 1,100 aircraft in Australia were fitted with Jabiru engines.

CASA director of aviation safety Mark Skidmore said the new direction was developed in collaboration with Jabiru and Recreation Aviation Australia.

“CASA’s engineers have looked very carefully at engine failure data and analyses and worked with Jabiru’s engineering adviser,” Skidmore said.

“CASA and Jabiru now have a better understanding of the problems involved and this has led to the development of the new direction.

“I am pleased operators of Jabiru-powered aircraft can now resume normal operations once the appropriate maintenance-related actions have been taken.”


Australian Aviation

CASA postpones changes to flight testing regulations – Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has postponed changes to the regulation of Approved Testing Officers (ATO) in response to community feedback.

As a result, ATOs have another year to surrender their delegation and obtain a Flight Examiner Rating (FER).

“In response to the concerns expressed by members of the industry about the insurance-related implications of this change, CASA has decided to extend the expiration date of current ATOs for a further year – from 30 June 2016 to 30 June 2017,” CASA said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This means that ATOs who have not yet surrendered their delegation and obtained a FER under Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) in its place do not need to do so immediately, and may continue to perform their functions as ATOs for a further year.

“It also means that the indemnity protection offered to all CASA delegates and authorised persons, as set out in Civil Aviation Advisory Publication (CAAP) Admin-1, will continue to apply to ATOs until 30 June 2017.”

For those who have already surrendered their ATO delegation and obtained a FER, CASA was proposing a legislative amendment to retain their status as an ATO until June 30 2017.

CASA noted on its website that many who had already transitioned from having an ATO delegation to a FER would have made arrangements to obtain their own insurance coverage.

However, the legislative amendment would include the indemnity protection that having an ATO delegation provided.

“Until that change can be made flight examiner rating holders are not covered by the CAAP Admin-1 indemnity,” CASA said.

“Please note that until the legislation has been amended, FER holders who were previously ATOs are not now ATOs (delegates), and the benefit of CAAP Admin-1 indemnity protection has not yet been extended to these people.

“CASA will ensure that affected former ATOs who now hold FERs are advised when the legislation is amended, and what further action may need to be taken so they can obtain the retrospective benefit of CAAP Admin-1 protection.”

More details are available on the CASA website.


Australian Aviation

Civil Aviation Safety Authority publishes new timeline for regulatory changes

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has published a new timetable for changes to the nation’s aviation regulations in response to feedback from industry.

The timetable outlines the 20 regulatory change projects, including regulations covering general operating rules, air transport operations, aerial work, continuing airworthiness and maintenance for small aircraft, small aircraft maintenance licensing, sport and recreational operations and unmanned aircraft, that CASA is undertaking between now and 2020.

CASA director of aviation safety Mark Skidmore said the main aim of the timeline was to “avoid placing any unnecessary burdens on aviation organisations or individuals during the process of developing and implementing new and improved regulations”.

Mark Skidmore (CASA)

Further, it includes “realistic transition periods to give everyone adequate time to move across to the new regulations”.

“CASA has learnt from past mistakes made during the development and introduction of regulatory changes such as the flightcrew licensing suite,” Skidmore said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Consultation processes are being improved, regulations will be tested with the aviation community before introduction and information will be presented clearly and provided consistently.

“Our new approach to regulatory reform is consistent with the Federal Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review, which stated time was needed for the aviation community and CASA to adjust to and successfully implement regulatory changes.”

In November, CASA set up a dedicated team of full-time staff to address issues raised by the suite of new licensing regulations, including Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142, as well as reviewed transition arrangements and determine what needed to be prioritised.

Meanwhile, the aviation safety regulator also held a series of community consultation sessions to get feedback from owners and operators over recent months.

In addition to the taskforce, CASA also invited representatives from the nation’s key aviation industry groups – The Australian Aviation Associations Forum, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, the Australian Helicopter Industry Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Australian Business Aviation Association, the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia and the Aerial Application Association of Australia – to join a new advisory panel.

The panel also included representatives from the regular public transport and mustering sectors, flying schools, and the tertiary education sector.

The new timeline can be found on the CASA website and is reproduced below.

CASA's new regulatory timeline. (CASA)

Australian Aviation