Annual Report 2006-07: Into the future
Into the future
- The industry
- Recruiting and retaining skilled people
- Continued improvement of CASA’s services to industry
- Licensing, education and training of industry personnel
- Changes in our accountability
- Outcome-based rules
- International Civil Aviation Organization audit
- Financial forecasts
Australia’s domestic, regional and international airline sectors have shown resilience through steady growth in the past decade. Industry forecasts indicate that this growth will continue.
Domestic airline operations are seeing a general trend to a larger average size of aircraft, and an increase in low-cost carrier activity. The international sector will soon see the addition of new large transport aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787. CASA’s preparations are well under way for the entrance of these aircraft types.
CASA’s Air Transport Operations Group will assume regulatory responsibility for all regular passenger transport operators using two-pilot aircraft by the end of December 2007.
The general aviation industry continues to operate with small margins while managing increasing costs and complexity. Many operations are regionally based, and so are affected by the drought and the decline of local industries.
Helicopter operations are expanding, in particular in emergency medical services, fire fighting and the mining industry. Sport aviation continues to increase in popularity. The increased availability of affordable aircraft for personal or recreational use has heightened interest and activity in this sector.
CASA is noticing across the general aviation industry a movement towards new technology, and more modern aircraft and systems.
Investment in new models, such as corporate jets and new generation helicopters, is occurring throughout Australia. Fleet age is a growing safety issue with few replacement options coming onto the market. Unmanned aerial vehicle technology is continuing to emerge with activities in areas such as survey and photography.
The continuing need for skilled people in the aviation industry (air traffic controllers, engineers, managers and pilots) must be monitored carefully. Any overall loss of skilled workers has the potential to affect safety. In particular, the shortage of people with skills and aviation experience will create challenges for smaller operators to attract and retain such people.
CASA’s specialist capability in safety systems will be further developed, and there will be major improvements in overseeing the operations of industry, including the activities of foreign operators into Australia.
From a regulatory perspective, action will be taken to improve communication, navigation and surveillance systems in Australia in the interest of safer aviation.
The need to increase our presence in Western Australia has been identified. CASA plans to have at least three inspectors based in Perth by the third quarter of 2007. Currently this market is serviced from Melbourne.
CASA is putting in significant effort to streamline its processes and ensure that the demands it makes on industry are commensurate with the safety risk involved. Internal processes for regulatory services are under review and the methodology and effectiveness of surveillance and enforcement efforts are being examined and measured. CASA has published service delivery standards to assist industry regulatory service applicants to be aware of the service timeframes they should expect.
CASA is also ensuring that the industry is more aware of and is better able to meet CASA requirements when applying for permissions and approvals. More web-based information, detailed application forms and development of the online self-service portal including online payment facilities, will all assist applicants, which will in turn improve CASA’s ability to deliver regulatory services efficiently and effectively. This will be supported by continued improvements in the alignment and integration of information and communications technology into CASA’s business planning and governance activities.
Industry will benefit from several CASA initiatives, as outlined below.
Use of technology for the delivery of safety advice and education, and for the provision of regulatory and other services through the CASA online self-service portal, will increase. This will include capability for CASA to receive electronic payments.
In other measures, the field safety adviser programme will be expanded to include Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. New maintenance personnel licensing standards are to be published, and a civil aviation advisory publication on threat and error management will be issued.
Random drug and alcohol testing of people involved in safety-sensitive activities will be introduced, as well as a drug and alcohol management plan for relevant employers.
Finally, the aviation medicine certification system will be reviewed and improved.
It is expected that on 1 July 2008 CASA will become an agency administered under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 rather than under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. This will mean our accountability will change.
Legal challenges for the future include the development and drafting of transitional civil aviation orders that set out requirements for air operator’s certificates in outcome-based terms, pending the development of Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 119, which relates to air transport operator certification.
Australia will be audited by the International Civil Aviation Organization as part of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program in February 2008, to determine Australia’s compliance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices and to ascertain Australia’s safety oversight capability.
Revenue and financial plan
CASA’s total forecast revenue for 2007–08 is $138.6 million, to be derived as follows:
- $112.9 million from government appropriations and the aviation industry through collection of excise revenue on aviation fuel used in domestic air travel
- $24.1 million collected for regulatory services sought by the aviation industry
- $1.3 million from interest from investment and cash deposits
- $0.3 million from sundry income.
This revenue base broadly reflects the beneficiaries of CASA’s functions undertaken as part of its responsibilities under the Civil Aviation Act 1988.
The financial plan for 2007–08 and the forward estimates for 2008–10 (see Figure 5) are based on the figures provided in CASA’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2007–08.