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Independent review of aviation fatigue rules for operators and pilots
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In April 2013, CASA introduced new fatigue rules for operators and pilots set out in Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 48.1 Instrument 2013. The rules sought to align Australia with international standards, improve aviation safety, address known risks, and maintain our reputation for safety in aviation.
In 2017 the CASA Board directed an independent review of the new fatigue rules be undertaken as a result of feedback received from various sections of the aviation industry and endorsed the Terms of Reference.
The review was steered by Dédale Asia Pacific, a Melbourne-based human factors and safety consultancy.
The independent review confirmed the need to modernise Australia’s fatigue rules for air operators and pilots in its final report delivered to the CASA Board in March 2018.
The final report included 24 recommendations to improve and implement the fatigue rules contained in CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013.
The independent review provided an evaluation of the safety rationale for updating the rules, processes underpinning their development and communication to industry, their scientific basis and validity, international alignment, and their impact on the Australian aviation industry.
Key recommendations to improve the fatigue rules included:
- Revising flight duty period (FDP) limitations by adopting limits more closely aligned with international averages.
- Increasing the flexibility of the Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) option to enhance scalability through additional risk-based tiers.
- Introducing a standardised approval process (other than an FRMS) to offer limited flexibility for operators to operate beyond the prescriptive limits with specific fatigue risk mitigation measures in place.
- Removing Part 137 aerial application operations from CAO 48.1 or adopting limits from CASR Sub part 137.Q due to lower public risk exposures.
- A freeze on transition dates until changes flowing from the review are finalised in CAO 48.1 and material to support industry is ready.
- Allocating appropriate resources to plan a detailed, coordinated implementation for finalising the reform of CAO 48.1.
- A staggered approach to the next phase of change—addressing the highest risk areas first.
Download the final report for more detail.
CASA has accepted 21 of the 24 review recommendations.
There was broad consensus on the need to modernise Australia’s fatigue rules, with some differing views on some specific details.
CASA has considered the review recommendations and industry’s feedback in finalising its response.
The CASA Board is satisfied that CASA’s response strikes an appropriate balance between safety and impact on industry and expects that industry will work with CASA to transition to the modified rules.
Read the report Modernising Australia’s fatigue rules: CASA response to the independent review recommendations (pdf 378.92 KB) for more detail including further discussion of the consultation feedback and the agreed action for each recommendation.