Part 1 Into the future
Into the future
Aviation in Australia is a dynamic, changing environment, so it is inevitable that there will be challenges ahead—both for the aviation industry, and for CASA as its safety regulator.
Domestic airline operations are continuing to trend to a larger average size of aircraft, and an increase in low-cost carrier activity. New aircraft deliveries have slowed due to production schedules slipping and some airlines delaying the delivery of new aircraft due to economic uncertainty. However, the domestic and international sectors are seeing the addition of new, large air transport aircraft such as the Airbus A380, the Boeing 777 and Boeing 787. CASA is prepared, in terms of compliance, surveillance and approvals, for the entrance of these new aircraft types to the Australian register.
Increasing costs are a major challenge for the entire industry and will have flow-on effects for safety as operators endeavour to maintain viable businesses. Cost increases due to the price of oil, compliance requirements relating to increased security and environmental measures, and new, more expensive technology will all have an impact on the industry and on CASA as a regulator. Australia also has its own additional challenges, particularly for some regionally based operators who are affected by the drought and the decline of local industries. Increasing costs and diminishing margins will continue to challenge the aviation industry in the near future.
As is the case for other major general aviation aircraft fleets in the world, aircraft used in commercial operations are ageing. When new models, systems and technologies are developed, the potential safety benefits must be assessed simultaneously with the additional complexity and change to the industry that they bring. In Australia, fleet replacement programs have been constrained by the shortage of suitable new models compatible with the operational requirements of the smaller end of the Australian market.
Global skills shortages have not left the aviation industry untouched. Aviation in particular relies on skilled pilots, engineers and air traffic controllers to provide services and meet the growth needs of the industry. Attracting and retaining skilled people will be an ongoing challenge for the industry.
In response to some of the issues outlined above, the year ahead for CASA will include the following initiatives:
- Establishment of the Airworthiness Engineering Group in July 2008 to better align CASA’s operations with the aviation industry and make our oversight of engineering, initial and continuing airworthiness, and engineering standards even more effective and consistent with other international authorities.
- Establishment of a National Helicopter Office in response to the specific challenges in the helicopter industry in Australia, which currently has an annual growth of approximately 30 per cent. The complexity of the Australian helicopter fleet is also increasing as larger and more complex multi-engine instrument flight rules (IFR) helicopters are brought online. Demand for helicopter-specific services is growing commensurately, as are CASA’s education and compliance responsibilities, and the National Helicopter Office will respond to these demands.
- Continued work on assessing and mitigating trends and risk factors in passenger air transport, particularly in light of cost pressures, environmental change, the impact of ageing and new aircraft, and the impact of a tight labour market.
- A strategic approach to the continuing development of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) sector within Australia. This includes identifying emerging issues and risks as well as operational safety considerations. Australia is in a unique position to progress UAS activities, in particular through the availability of airspace, infrastructure and open spaces. CASA will establish a national UAS office to progress this work.
- Continued encouragement to appropriate segments of the general aviation industry towards self-administration. In doing so, CASA seeks an appropriate balance when determining activities that are suitable to be devolved for industry oversight and activities that, in terms of the wider public safety interest, have to stay under CASA’s direct oversight.
- Consolidation of a revised data-driven safety oversight program that incorporates the principles of safety management and risk where the operator has responsibility for the safety of their organisation. Safety management systems for passenger-carrying operators will be progressively mandated through the introduction of new legislation. There will be a transition process for those existing organisations for the implementation of safety management systems.
- Establishment of a task force to examine the impact of pilot shortages on regional airlines and low-capacity regular public transport operators to identify how CASA can monitor and regulate operators accordingly. A number of strategies are being considered including the development of CASR Part 119
—Air Operator Certification—Air Transport to provide for a strategic as well as an operational focus on safety. Options and further recommendations, including industry consultation, will be developed and conducted during 2008–09.
- Contribution to the development of the government’s National Aviation Policy Statement.
Revenue and financial plan
CASA’s total forecast revenue for 2008–09 is $149.1 million, derived as follows:
- $123.0 million from government appropriations and the aviation industry through collection of excise revenue on aviation fuel used in domestic air travel
- $22.2 million collected for regulatory services provided to the aviation industry
- $3.6 million from interest from investment and cash deposits and the sale of goods and services
- $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.
Future aviation trends and safety risks identified
A report compiled by CASA following extensive industry consultation has identified the trends and risk factors expected to influence aviation over the next three to five years.
The review identified four main drivers expected to influence—or continue to influence—aviation over the coming years:
- the global demand for aviation services, with new players entering the market, and the expansion of existing operations.
- environmental awareness, with a corresponding demand for new technologies to reduce emissions, alternative fuel sources and the development of new aircraft materials.
- technological advances—for example, in navigation—that bring both safety benefits and risks.
- international instability and the need for increased security. Airlines, for example, now have to spend money on security that in the past could have been channelled into other areas.
The report also examines the impact of these broad factors on aviation safety systems, under the key headings of aircraft (new and ageing), airports and infrastructure, airspace and air traffic management, personnel, and regulators and administrators.
A series of CASA and industry working groups are being convened to develop strategies to mitigate the key risks identified in the report; their recommendations will be compiled and will contribute to policy development throughout 2008–09.