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Reviewing the rules for aerodromes (Part 139)
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CASR Part 139 and the Part 139 Manual of Standards for aerodromes were some of the first rule parts to transition to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 in 2003. The ruleset has undergone a comprehensive post-implementation review as part of CASA's standard rules development and implementation process.
The review considered issues of complexity, inflexibility, cost and regulatory impact. It was also a chance to align the rules with international best practice and the latest amendments to ICAO standards for aerodromes published in Annex 14.
Following the review process, the rules have been updated to reflect changes in the industry, technology, international standards and best practice. They are intended to be more flexible and practical to suit the diversity of aerodrome operations.
- View the Part 139 Consequential, Application, Transitional and Savings provisions (CATS) regulations and the Part 139 Manual of Standards (MOS)
- View the sample aerodrome manual and guide
- View the feedback from public consultation on the proposed updated rules
- View the regulatory progress timeline for finalising and implementing the rules
- View the change summary of the updated rules
- View the updated manual of standards for Part 139.
- Aerodromes will be either 'regulated' (certified) or 'unregulated', reducing complexity.
- Only aerodromes with instrument flight procedures would be required to be regulated (as per current rules), otherwise regulation is voluntary.
- Administrative and system requirements will be scalable, dependent on the size and complexity of the aerodrome operations and associated risk.
- Physical standards will be more flexible, with minimum, maximum and new 'preferred' limits to suit a variety of practical situations. These design standards can be implemented as infrastructure is built, replaced or upgraded.
- There are new options and standards to use enhanced visual aids to improve safety.
- Inspection and reporting requirements for all aerodromes will support risk-based regulatory surveillance.
- Existing aerodrome facilities will continue to be 'grandfathered' until they are upgraded or replaced.
- Aerodromes currently issued exemptions under Part 11 of CASR may now be granted a wider range of enduring approvals subject to a suitable safety case being provided to CASA. This option is also available for aerodrome operators who wish to explore alternative means of compliance and can demonstrate an acceptable level of safety.
You can learn more in the change summary.
Over the coming months, we will be releasing several critical advisory circulars (ACs) to assist aerodromes to transition to the new rules. We will also be opening a number of these ACs to public consultation.
The below list will provide you with an overview of these ACs, when they are expected to be released and which ones will be subject to consultation. Please note the proposed dates below are indicative and may change.
They will be avaliable on Advisory Circulars page once published.
|Number||Subject||Actual or proposed consultation scheduled||Proposed publication|
|AC 139.A-03 v1.0||Application of aerodrome standards||November 2019||June 2020|
|AC 139.B-01 v1.0||Applying for aerodrome certification||November 2019||June 2020|
|AC 139.C-03 v1.0||Serviceability inspections||June 2020|
|AC 139.C-02 v1.0||Aerodrome personnel||June 2020||July 2020|
|AC 139.C-27 v1.0||Risk management plans for aerodromes||July 2020|
|AC 139.C-19 v1.0||Aerodrome emergency planning||July 2020|
|AC 139.C-04 v1.0||Aerodrome technical inspections||August 2020|
|AC 139.A-01 v1.0||Part 139 aerodromes: an overview||August 2020|
|AC 139.A-02 v1.0||Aerodrome compatibility||August 2020|
|AC 139.C-05 v1.0||Aerodrome reporting and validation||August 2020|
|AC 139.C-06 v1.0||Aerodrome pavements||July 2020||August 2020|
|AC 139.C-07 v1.0||Strength rating of aerodrome pavements||July 2020||August 2020|
|AC 139.A-04||Applying for aerodrome authorisations, exemptions and approval||August 2020|
|AC 139.C-09 v1.0||Visual aids, markings, signals, signs||August 2020|
|AC 139.C-11 v1.0||Commissioning of aerodrome lighting systems||July 2020||August 2020|
|AC 139.D-02 v1.0||Guidelines for certified air/ground radio services||August 2020|
- Do I need to build new infrastructure?
- Any aerodrome infrastructure that exists once the rules commence would be 'grandfathered', so there would be no need to meet new infrastructure standards unless undertaking upgrades or building new facilities in the future. General maintenance is not considered an upgrade. The infrastructure standards applicable to new or upgraded facilities would depend on the size and operations of the aerodrome. Many standards would have a range of acceptable limits to ensure they could be applied across different environments. In situations where they couldn't be applied, there may be the opportunity to gain an enduring approval based on a safety case accepted by CASA.
- What do the rules mean for aerodromes with instrument flight procedures?
- Unlike the current rules, the updated rules propose that the only trigger for mandatory certification would be the presence of instrument flight procedures. This trigger, however, would not be a new requirement. All aerodromes with instrument flight procedures are currently required to be registered or certified. Any aerodrome without instrument flight procedures would also be able to become certified, but this would be optional. Existing 'registered' aerodromes would be reclassified as 'certified' and would need to have an aerodrome manual. The requirements for the manual would be scalable, based on the aerodrome's operations and capacity, and in many cases would simply mean building existing documentation into the manual.
- What will aerodrome operators need to do?
- Existing certified or registered aerodromes or aerodrome operators seeking certification would be required to assess and notify CASA of the operational capability of their aerodrome, including regular passenger numbers and aircraft movements. This would establish whether they reach higher risk trigger points requiring further safety management, enhanced documentation and technical inspections. Aerodromes that don't reach these trigger points would have different documentation requirements and only need to annually advise if their manual or reported obstacle information needs updating. Existing certified or registered aerodromes could also choose to incorporate the new standards for enhanced visual aids. Additionally, aerodrome operators would need to nominate an 'accountable manager' to meet and report on compliance matters to CASA.
- What help will I get to transition to the rules?
- CASA is developing a range of guidance material and practical tools to make the transition process easier once the rules are in place. One of the optional tools will be the Manual Authoring and Assessment Tool (MAAT), a web-based tool that provides instructions, templates and sample text for building a manual. Making small updates is a quick and simple process with this platform, and it provides transparency around the approval process with a CASA delegate. CASA will issue supporting templates and guidance for transition including a transition table which will outline the compliance standards that must be met for each aerodrome category at each safety and risk trigger point.
- What do pilots need to know?
- Over time, there may be minor changes to visual aids (signs and lights) at aerodromes to align with ICAO Annex 14. Pilots may also see new visuals aids such as lit markings indicating runway unserviceability. There would be some changes to the aeronautical information publication (AIP) to resolve duplication with Part 175 and the code number 'CN' would now refer to the obstacle limitation surface (OLS) provided for that runway. The other direct change would be that aircraft could not land on the runway strip of an aerodrome unless this was specifically published as being permissible in the AIP.
- What is an 'accountable manager'?
- The rules would require aerodrome personnel to nominate an 'accountable manager' responsible for meeting and reporting on compliance matters to CASA. The intent of this proposal is to improve communication flow and transparency in regulatory matters and would align the regulation with the way CASA already engages with aerodrome operators through the CASA Surveillance Manual.
- When will the rules take effect?
- The rules will take effect in August 2020 but will allow time for aerodromes to transition to the new rules.
- I have to list all of my grandfathered infrastructure and OLS in my manual. How much detail do I need to go into, or information do you need and when do I need to provide this information?
On the date of implementation, you will need to list what infrastructure or OLS will be grandfathered in accordance with the new rules. There are three elements you will need to address. The facility and/or OLS, previous standard that the facility or OLS complied with, how the facility and/or OLS do not comply with the new standard.
- If I don’t wish to remain certified or registered, what will happen to me?
You will need to let us know and you will be no longer considered as a regulated (certified) aerodrome. If you wish to re-establish your status as a regulated aerodrome, you will be considered as a new applicant and must fully comply with the new rules – and the benefits of the grandfathering provisions will not apply.
- What if I fail to accurately capture my grandfathering infrastructure?
We cannot recognise grandfathering status unless it is captured correctly in accordance with the MOS therefore, if you have any doubts on how to correctly document your grandfathered facilities or OLS in your aerodrome manual please get in touch with us.
- The MOS is now ready, what should I do now?
There are a few things you can do now:
- read the change summary
- start identifying your grandfathered facilities and OLS
- think about your future plans to upgrade
- upgrade your aerodrome manual if you are a certified aerodrome
- develop your aerodrome manual if you are a registered aerodrome
- think about who you will appoint as your aerodrome accountable manager
- review the advisory circulars as they are released
- get in touch with us if you need any assistance or clarification.
- I’ve noticed standards in the MOS are dependent on how many passengers or aircraft movements at the aerodrome. What do I need to consider? Do I need to start monitoring and identify what may apply to my aerodrome?
Yes, but we will also monitor using BITRE data.
- What happens to my existing exemptions?
We will review these on a case by case basis. Get in touch with your aerodrome inspector.
Read more about the Part 139 regulations.