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CASA Annual Report 2003 04 Part 3: Corporate report

Corporate report

Stakeholder relationships

Aviation Safety Forum

The Aviation Safety Forum is a consultative body, which advises CASA on strategic issues associated with regulation of the aviation industry and on certain aspects of CASA’s operations.14 This advice may be sought by CASA or put forward by the Forum itself.

The Aviation Safety Forum is broadly representative of stakeholders in the aviation community. Members provide expert input based on their extensive backgrounds in passenger transport, engineering, general aviation, aviation consumer issues and as officers of Airservices Australia and the Department of Defence. DOTARS sends an observer to meetings.

Membership of the Aviation Safety Forum was expanded in 2003–04 to bring in new expertise and fresh insights without membership turnover, and a new Forum chairperson was appointed in February 2004.

A detailed discussion and feedback from members on the way the Aviation Safety Forum has and should operate took place at the November 2003 meeting. In 2004 new sub-committees were formed to consider key aspects of CASA’s operations and to revise the Forum Charter.

The Aviation Safety Forum met four times in 2003–04. Some of the key issues the Forum addressed and advised CASA or the Minister on during the reporting period were:

  • development of CASA’s Corporate Plan
  • safe use of helicopters in built-up areas
  • the need to alert operators and licensed aircraft maintenance engineers about cracks appearing in Beech King aircraft
  • aviation medical issues
  • a more practicable approach to seat testing and re-webbing
  • liability concerns among CASA staff and licensed aircraft maintenance engineers that are adversely affecting the way people go about their jobs
  • feedback on issues associated with Australian Parts Manufacture Approvals and Safety Management Systems
  • consistency and quality of regulatory decisions undertaken by CASA.

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Standards Consultative Committee

The SCC brings together representatives from a diverse range of aviation industry groups to work with CASA on regulatory change.15 With 35 organisations represented on the main committee and a combined total of 300 CASA and industry participants in the SCC and its nine sub-committees, the commitment, effort and coordination of the process represents a significant achievement.

The SCC’s principal task is to consider safety regulatory issues in relation to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (1998) (CASRs), amendments to the Civil Aviation Regulations (1988) (CARs) and Civil Aviation Orders (CAOs), Manuals of Standards (MOS) and Advisory Circulars (ACs). The SCC also considers legislative change proposals to recommend to CASA which proposals should be advanced and the priority attached to each proposal. Further, the SCC identifies individual industry experts to work with CASA staff on the development of regulatory proposals.

The SCC met four times during 2003–04. Some of the key issues considered were:

  • CAR 42L, 42WA and some other miscellaneous regulations
  • CASR Part 11 – Regulatory Administrative Procedures
  • CASR Part 47 – Aircraft Registration and Related Matters
  • CASA CEO Directive 1 – review of option of a CASR Part 135
  • CASA CEO Directive 2 – Review of CASR Part 91
  • Manuals of Standards
  • Regulatory issues relating to offence provisions including offences of strict liability
  • proposed amendments to CASR Part 21 – Manufacturing of Aircraft Parts.

The SCC also provided pre-issue review of the following consultation documents:

  • Draft Notice of Proposed Rule Making, NPRM 0405AS – Navigation Certificates – Proposed Subpart 91.U of (CASR) Part 91 – General Operating and Flight Rules
  • Draft Discussion Paper 'Tamper resistant time recording devices to be fitted to helicopters'
  • Draft Notice of Proposed Rule Making – NPRM 0402CS – Proposed Airworthiness Directive (AD) for Internal Inspection of the Flaps on Beechcraft 76 Series Aeroplanes – Proposed Issuance of a Unique Australia AD issued under Part 39 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR 1998)
  • Draft Notice of Proposed Change NPC 139H/01 – Proposed Amendments to Manual of Standards (MOS) Part 139H – Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Service
  • Draft Notice of Proposed Rule Making, NPRM 0402OS – Fatigue Management – Proposed Regulations for the Management of Fatigue in Aircrew to Replace Civil Aviation Orders (CAO) Part 48
  • Draft Notice of Proposed Rule Making, NPRM 0401AS – National Airspace System Characteristic 29 – Stage 2c – Proposed Amendment to Regulation 166 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR 1988)
  • DOTARS information paper on the aviation self reporting and demerit point schemes.

The SCC is reviewing its structure, composition and terms of reference to ensure that it remains a dynamic and contemporary focal point for CASA–industry consultation.

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CASA Hotline

In 2003–04 there were 179 calls to the CASA Hotline, which was set up to give people straightforward and confidential access to CASA about aviation safety concerns. Many of these calls came from people working in the industry who wanted to bring to light troubling practices relating to flight and duty rostering, maintenance, reporting of incidents and defects, validity of licences and so on. Others came from members of the public who wished to raise concerns about low and dangerous flying, and to report incidents that occurred on flights upon which they were travelling. The Hotline is an extremely valuable source of safety intelligence for CASA and all concerns were promptly addressed.

Corporate communications

CASA is strongly committed to maintaining and improving effective communication with the aviation industry, the travelling public and its staff.

In the past year, relationships with the Australian and international media have been further improved, ensuring information on aviation safety is quickly and accurately delivered as required. Negative comment about aviation safety and CASA itself in the Australian media has been measured and shown to be continuously low – averaging just under 4 per cent of all media analysed.

CASA continues to respond in a timely fashion to requests from people in the aviation industry for information. A dedicated email address for enquiries receives dozens of requests each week and responses are prepared daily.

Communication with staff is one of the highest priorities, with a review underway of the internal communications strategy to ensure it is meeting the needs of both CASA and its staff. This review is reflecting the changes being put in place by the CEO and his desire to take a ‘hands-on’ approach to staff communications.

During the year, the CEO made a series of visits to CASA’s Area and Airline Office network. These visits gave staff the opportunity to meet him and to discuss their work, aviation issues, ideas and concerns. The visits will continue into 2004–05.

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International relations

Australia is a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), which provides for the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation. ICAO, which was established by the Convention, develops international Standards and Recommended Practices using international panels and working groups. These Standards and Recommended Practices are published in 18 annexes to the Convention.

The Transport and Regional Services portfolio has carriage of Australia’s participation in ICAO, with the various agencies taking responsibility for ICAO activities falling within their legislative functions. CASA is responsible for seven of the 18 annexes, and shares responsibility for a further two annexes with Airservices Australia.

In 2003–04 CASA continued to provide strong support to ICAO, although recent resource constraints have led to detailed prioritisation of that support to ensure maximum benefit from reduced funds.

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Bilateral arrangements

CASA continues to work towards bilateral arrangements with various partner States. These arrangements focus mainly on mutual recognition or acceptance of aircraft and component certification standards, but recently work has commenced on a maintenance-related agreement with the United States FAA.

A recent Australian government decision to seek Treaty-style wording at both levels of the Australian and US Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement, which will eventually cover both aircraft certification and maintenance, has significantly delayed the agreement.

CASA continues to work with the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority on an agreement relating to aircraft below 450 kgs. The assumption of certification responsibility for other aircraft by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has negated the value of future individual national agreements and therefore CASA has commenced discussions with EASA with the intention of negotiating an agreement that will cover all EASA countries.

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Trans-Tasman relations

As part of a larger government direction, CASA continues to work closely with the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority to put in place technical procedures and systems that will allow respective airlines to operate domestically in either country with the minimum of additional certification. Such procedures will maintain the high standards of aviation safety required of airlines by the relevant safety regulator.

This process is complemented by the work undertaken by the Australian Department of Transport and Regional Services and the New Zealand Ministry of Transport to provide a policy framework appropriate for these operations.

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Regional activities

CASA has been heavily involved in the immediate region with the provision of substantial support to assist in the building of the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO). CASA has been a long-term supporter of this initiative, which will see an amalgamation of resources in the Pacific to support Island nations in their aviation safety (and security) oversight role. This initiative of the Pacific Island States is a recognition of the difficulties that they face in meeting a highly technical international responsibility.

PASO will cover the fields of flying operations, airworthiness, airports, licensing and aviation security and will provide detailed technical advice and support to member States. CASA released an experienced officer to act as the Interim General Manager of PASO and to facilitate the formation of the organisation, including the organisational, administrative and technical procedures required. Achievements of PASO over this period included drafting and completion of the Pacific Islands Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty, updating the Constitution on PASO and formulating detailed administrative and organisational procedures.

CASA continues to provide support to PASO via its membership of the council of Directors of PASO and specific technical support when resources allow.

John Gratton of CASA with PASO staff

John Gratton of CASA with PASO staff

Footnotes:

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