Section 16 of the Civil Aviation Act requires that CASA consult where appropriate with government, commercial, industrial, consumer and other relevant bodies and representative organisations in performing its functions and the exercise of its powers.
Standards Consultative Committee
The Standards Consultative Committee (SCC) brings together representatives from a diverse range of aviation industry groups to work with CASA on regulatory change. Thirty-eight organisations are represented on the main committee, which is industry chaired. More than 200 CASA and industry participants are involved in the SCC and its six subcommittees. CASA considers that the commitment, effort and coordination involved delivers significant benefits.
The SCC’s principal task is to consider safety regulatory issues in relation to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998, amendments to the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 and Civil Aviation Orders and manuals of standards and advisory circulars, and to provide comments on CASA’s proposals for regulatory change.
CASA is committed to—and highly values—consultation with the aviation industry in its regulatory and standards development processes through the SCC and its subcommittees. Both CASA and the aviation industry have a common goal and have much to gain from the engagement of technically competent, highly experienced and diversely qualified individuals. This involvement enables CASA to deliver aviation safety regulations that are contemporary, practical and cost effective, reflect industry best practice, and are capable of responding to changes in the industry in the future.
The key issues considered in 2009-10 were:
- significant progress in development of the Maintenance Regulations project
- Civil Aviation Order amendments for safety management systems and human factors training
- carriage and use of radio and circuit procedures at, or in the vicinity of, non-towered aerodromes
- changes to former General Aviation Aerodrome Procedures (GAAP), Class D procedures, and miscellaneous air traffic procedures.
Further information about the SCC (including its membership, subcommittees, meetings and activities) is provided on CASA’s website.
Regional Aviation Safety Forum
The Regional Aviation Safety Forum (RASF) is a new forum where key safety issues facing the regional aviation community can be discussed with the Director of Aviation Safety. The RASF supersedes the Aviation Safety Forum, and is designed to increase the focus on regional industry participants and provide a more practical approach to the industry consultation process.
An initial RASF workshop was conducted in May 2010 and included representatives from Regional Express, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, Recreational Aviation Australia, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, the Gliding Federation of Australia, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Australian Airports Association, Seair Pacific, CHC Helicopters, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association and the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia. The success of the workshop has led to the RASF being formalised. The RASF is chaired by the Director of Aviation Safety.
The Sport Safety Aviation Forum
The Sport Aviation Safety Forum was established in July 2009 to bring together all the recreational aviation administration organisations (RAAOs) as a common group and provide a single communication point for CASA. The forum is an annual opportunity to meet and discuss ways to improve the oversight of sport aviation, to share information and for RAAOs to benchmark with each other. The second forum was held in June 2010 to discuss plans for the year ahead. Establishing safety management systems and strong governance practices were some of the key achievements presented.
Expert Panel on Aircraft Air Quality
CASA convened an independent Expert Panel on Aircraft Air Quality with expertise in both safety and occupational health matters. Individuals and groups representing aircrew members have raised concerns about the possibility of low-level chronic exposure to contaminants in aircraft cabin air leading to potential long-term health effects. Some flight and cabin crew have reported a variety of symptoms that they have associated with cabin air quality. The evidence-based relationship between cabin air exposures (either in normal operations or following incidents) and ill health in aircraft crews has been difficult to ascertain. The panel is preparing a report with recommendations, due in the latter half of 2010.
Flying Training Panel
CASA supports the industry-led Flying Training Panel, which provides strategic advice to the Director of Aviation Safety on flying training matters. The Flying Training Panel meets quarterly. Strategic initiatives in 2009-10 included input into the National Chief Flying Instructor Course, implementation of a review of guidance material for conducting flight reviews, and consideration of wider use of flight simulation for training.
Aviation Policy Group
The Aviation Policy Group is a high-level interagency group that consists of the CASA Director of Aviation Safety, the Chief Executive Officer of Airservices Australia, the Chief of Air Force and the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. Although the group is not a decision-making body, it provides a forum for effective interagency policy coordination and for working through air traffic management and other aviation issues at a strategic level. The Aviation Policy Group met six times during 2009-10.
Aviation Implementation Group
The Aviation Implementation Group is an interagency forum chaired by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport that involves high-level representation from CASA, Airservices Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force. It is an important forum for identifying cross-agency aviation issues and maintaining regular communication between the four agencies. The Aviation Implementation Group supports the Aviation Policy Group in implementing cross-agency strategies. The group met seven times during 2009-10.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
Following the Miller Report of March 2008, which examined the relationship between CASA and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the agencies cooperated to better formalise and strengthen their working relationship throughout 2009-10.
The relationship has been further strengthened with the signing of a new memorandum of understanding between CASA and the ATSB. The agreement focuses on making the most effective use of the findings of accident investigations and clarifying the different but complementary roles of CASA and the ATSB in improving air safety.
It also provides a framework of cooperation between CASA and the ATSB on aviation safety education, research and data analysis. The agreement covers issues such as the roles of CASA and the ATSB in accident investigations, assistance during investigations, and safety education.
CASA has established an Accident Liaison and Investigation Unit. The senior manager of this important unit is responsible for liaison with the ATSB and ensures that ATSB reports and ATSB requests for information are addressed. Recommendations and agreed safety actions are tracked to completion, and formal responses are sent to the ATSB.
Accident Investigation Review Committee
CASA has established an Accident Investigation Review Committee chaired by the Deputy Director to:
- provide policy oversight of all ATSB reports received by CASA
- review and agree on the implementation of any formal recommendations from the ATSB.
International Civil Aviation Organization
Australia is a signatory to the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), which provides for the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation. The Chicago Convention established ICAO to develop international standards and recommended practices (SARPs) through international panels and working groups.
Australia’s participation in ICAO is shared among CASA, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport and Airservices Australia under a tripartite agreement to ensure a coordinated and consistent approach.
The ICAO Assembly, comprising representatives from all ICAO Contracting States, is the sovereign body of ICAO. It meets every three years to review the work of ICAO and to set policy and budgets for the coming triennium. The 37th session of the ICAO Assembly will be held in Montreal from 28 September to 8 October 2010, with delegates from CASA, the ATSB, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport and Airservices Australia attending.
A comprehensive audit of Australia’s compliance with ICAO SARPs was conducted by ICAO in February 2008. The audit, conducted under the auspices of the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Assessment Program, found that Australia performed well, ranking above the global average in most areas. However, areas such as technical personnel qualification and training elements were identified as needing improvement. In 2009-10, CASA continued to address the issues identified in the audit through a corrective action plan and advised ICAO of the specific actions being taken.
CASA’s strong support for ICAO activities continued in 2009-10 through its ongoing participation on panels and working groups. This included work on the standards for performance-based navigation (important in a technology-driven operating environment); dangerous goods; fatigue risk management; air traffic management requirements; instrument flight procedures; standards for unmanned aircraft systems; structures around airports; and standards related to medical provisions.
United States of America
On 7 May 2010, Australia and the United States signed an agreement to amend the existing Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness, which form part of the Australia - United States Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement. This amendment enhances export opportunities for Australian manufacturers by facilitating US FAA recognition of CASA’s aircraft parts manufacturing approvals. Australia has around 40 manufacturing companies with the potential to benefit under this agreement. The amendments are expected to be ratified during 2010-11.
Discussion between CASA and the US FAA is underway to progress the second revision to the agreement, which will also include mutual acceptance of supplementary type certificates for rotorcraft and large aircraft, as the current agreement applies to general aviation aircraft only.
CASA continues to discuss with the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Commission the progression of a proposed safety agreement initially focusing on the mutual recognition of airworthiness certification.
During a visit by representatives of CASA to Transport Canada in April 2010, it was established that Australian and Canadian maintenance systems were sufficiently compatible to proceed with the development of a technical arrangement covering maintenance. That arrangement will be further developed in 2010-11.
CASA has been working with Brazil’s Agência Nacional De Aviação Civil (ANAC) to develop a working arrangement for the mutual acceptance of airworthiness procedures and processes. During 2009-10, CASA and ANAC signed a memorandum of understanding to that effect, and it is expected that the implementation procedures will be signed by both parties by the end of 2010.
CASA meets with the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand on a six-monthly basis. The meetings provide a forum for information exchange between CASA and the CAA on matters such the mutual recognition of air operator certificates, personnel licensing, and the exchange of safety education information.
On 7 May 2007, Indonesian and Australian transport ministers jointly announced the $23.9 million Indonesian Transport Safety Assistance Package. Of that funding, $6.33 million over three years was allocated to CASA. The three year package of assistance, administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, was designed to assist in building Indonesian capacity in aviation safety management, consistent with the priorities of the Indonesian Government. Activities under the package include providing technical assistance, capacity building and guidance on enhanced governance practices and procedures to address transport safety challenges and focus on improving the skills of safety regulators, managers, investigators and air traffic service providers.
In May 2010, the Australian Government committed a further $14.5 million over four years from July 2010 to continue the improvement of transport safety in Indonesia, with $2.96 million allocated to CASA. CASA activities under this package will focus on developing long-term Indonesian self-sufficiency in aviation safety.
Pacific Aviation Safety Office
CASA continues to support the Australian representative on the Council of the Pacific Aviation Safety Office by providing technical advice and access to CASA training courses for staff of the office. CASA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pacific Aviation Safety Office in 2008.
Papua New Guinea
CASA participates in Papua New Guinea Interagency Transport Cooperation Working Group meetings with the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, AusAID, Airservices Australia and the ATSB. The working group was set up to coordinate activities under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Papua New Guinea and Australian governments on cooperation in the transport sector. CASA signed a Safety Annex under the MoU in November 2009.
At the formal request of the Papua New Guinea Civil Aviation Authority (PNG CAA), CASA undertook an operational risk assessment on six airstrips along the Kokoda Track. This activity was funded by the Kokoda Safety Package and was administered by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. The recommendations of this report were provided to the PNG CAA for its consideration in early 2010.
CASA also met with the PNG CAA during 2009-10 to build on the bilateral relationship and provide a forum for information exchange on aviation safety matters.
Other Asia-Pacific states
Steps have also been taken to engage with the civil aviation administrations of China, India and the Republic of Korea regarding the mutual acceptance of airworthiness procedures and processes.