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CASA Annual Report 2002 03 Part 2: CASA's environment

Part 2: CASA's environment

Operating framework

This section explains how CASA fits within the Transport and Regional Services portfolio, the international context in which we operate, and the nature of the aviation industry we regulate.

Administrative arrangements for aviation

CASA, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Airservices Australia form a tripartite structure for providing safe aviation, each with separate and distinct functions, but working together with the Department of Transport and Regional Services (see Figure 11).

Figure 11: Aviation safety structure

Figure 11: Aviation safety structure

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Certification of Airservices Australia

Australian aviation history was made in May 2003 when CASA certified Airservices Australia as an approved provider of air traffic services, aeronautical telecommunications, air traffic services training, and aerodrome rescue and fire fighting services.

Bernie Smith, David Adams and Mick Toller

L to R: Bernie Smith and David Adams from Airservices Australia with Mick Toller

Certification formalises the relationship between CASA as the safety regulator and Airservices Australia as a service provider, and completes the process begun in 1995 when the Civil Aviation Authority was split to create these discrete roles for the two bodies. Previously Airservices Australia operated under a memorandum of understanding with CASA.

The inaugural certification was a complex project for CASA and for Airservices Australia. Both organisations had to work through the ramifications of an entirely new arrangement. To gain certification as an approved provider under CASR Parts 139H, 143, 171 and 172, Airservices Australia went through an entry control process that involved a comprehensive corporate audit and seven site evaluations. CASA's Standards, Compliance and Regulatory Reform Program Implementation staff worked to a demanding timetable to ensure Airservices Australia satisfied the requirements of the new legislation.

CASA has now begun a normal surveillance program to ensure the certification standards are maintained throughout the organisation. We will conduct a post-implementation review in 2004.

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International obligations

International aviation is governed by Standards and Recommended Practices established by ICAO as set out in Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention) and supporting documents. CASA regulates Australian aviation under Australian legislation that, subject to notified differences, complies with those Standards and Recommended Practices.

The aviation industry

The Australian aviation industry comprises a diverse range of domestic and foreign aviation service providers. The following gives an overview of the size and level of activity in the various sectors of the aviation industry in Australia.

Fleet characteristics

As of December 2002 there were 11,788 aircraft on the Australian register with 9335 fixed wing aircraft, 1034 helicopters, 337 balloons and 1082 gliders.

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International airlines

Over the last decade, international passenger numbers have grown at an average annual rate of 6.2 per cent. Nevertheless, during the year ended June 2002 there were only 16.4 million international passenger movements to/from Australia, representing a decrease of 4.0 per cent over the previous year.

Domestic/regional airlines

The domestic airlines provide scheduled services within Australia, primarily operating high-capacity jet and turbo-prop aircraft, between the principal cities.

In the year to June 2002, there was a 6.7 per cent decrease to 25 million in the number of passengers carried on domestic airlines, and a 16.2 per cent decrease to 437,090 in aircraft movements.

Regional airlines provide services linking larger regional centres with the major cities and international gateways. Their fleets are largely made up of smaller turbo-prop and piston-engine low-capacity aircraft.

Introduction of new aircraft types, including medium-capacity jets and other advanced technology aircraft by regional carriers; and restructuring of the Regular Public Transport sector are significant developments. Operators in this sector are re-aligning and restructuring their businesses in response to an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing commercial environment.

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General aviation

In 2002, 1687.7 thousand hours were flown in the general aviation sector.This was a slight decrease compared with the previous year (0.9%).

The major general aviation activities in 2002 were charter operations (445.7 thousand hours) and training (410.8 thousand hours). Other general aviation activities in 2002 included aerial work (327.1 thousand hours), private flying (270.0 thousand hours), business flying (142.2 thousand hours) and agriculture (70.8 thousand hours).

General aviation is under considerable economic and business pressure, and is likely to continue facing significant challenges for several years, particularly in achieving a uniform standard for passenger-carrying activities and in relation to ageing aircraft.

Sport aviation

The sport aviation sector flew 122.2 thousand hours in hang gliders, 91.6 thousand hours in ultra-light aircraft, 59.6 thousand hours in gliders and 32.3 thousand hours in gyrocopters.

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Aviation manufacturing

Since the introduction of Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs) 1998, Part 21, there has been an increased number of applications and approvals for Australian Technical Standard Order authorisations and Australian Parts Manufacturer Approvals. A number of manufacturing organisations are working towards transitioning to the new production rules by the November 2003 deadline, and gaining the required approvals. This initiative will contribute to internationally recognised and compatible certification standards for aircraft and their components.

Australia's light aircraft manufacturing base continues to show potential for growth. There is also a well-established industry providing aircraft components and spare parts to major aircraft manufacturers around the world.

Overseas manufacturers continue to subcontract a significant amount of manufacturing work to the Australian aviation industry, and this work remains a major factor in maintaining an Australian aviation manufacturing and repair industry. CASA's relationships with foreign manufacturers remain sound.

The conclusion of bilateral arrangements between Australia and a number of other countries will assist in the further growth of export markets for Australia's aviation manufacturing industry.

Maintenance industry

Australia has a well-earned reputation for providing quality aircraft maintenance services. New maintenance regulations to facilitate internationally harmonised standards and appropriate compliance oversight are essential to ensure foreign operators continue to use these services.

Operators are competing with each other for a limited ageing pool of Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers. There may also be risks to the maintenance capability of operators through de-skilling of maintenance facilities resulting from the replacement of Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers by appropriately supervised, but unlicensed staff.

CASA is contributing to seeking solutions to the potential shortage of Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers within the aircraft maintenance industry in two ways. One is as a member of the Australian Industry Group Task Force, which is developing media promoting the Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer career as an attractive option to young Australians. The other is establishing scholarships to help young regional industry entrants by way of travel and tool funding.

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Provision of air traffic services, provision and maintenance of facilities, and development of instrument approach procedures

Airservices Australia has been designated as the single civil provider of Air Traffic Services and telecommunications facilities. CASA regulations set minimum standards for Air Traffic Services and facility providers, including Airservices Australia. These regulations set in place a framework to regulate all providers of Air Traffic Services and facilities services. CASA has certified Airservices Australia as a provider of Air Traffic Services and telecommunication facilities under the new regulations that came into effect on 1 May 2003. Other providers may be considered for certification if they are to provide a service under contract or agreement with Airservices Australia and meet all CASA regulations for the provision of this service.

Provision of aerodrome rescue and fire fighting services

Airservices Australia provides Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services at civil aerodromes where such a service is needed. CASA regulations governing these services set in place a framework to regulate all Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services providers. Airservices Australia, along with the Administration of Norfolk Island and Broome International Airport Holdings, were certified as providers of Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services under the new regulations with effect from 1 May 2003. Other providers may be considered for certification if they are to provide a service under contract or agreement with Airservices Australia and meet all CASA regulations for the provision of this service.

Aerodrome operations

Aerodrome operations represents a major component of aviation industry infrastructure. Australia has seven international airports, 13 airports designated as alternate international airports, approximately 255 licensed aerodromes, and some thousands of aircraft landing areas.

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