CASA does not currently have any regulations, (other than for passengers who are handicapped and for infants), specifically related to who may be seated at an over-wing exit row on an aircraft.
CASA does, however, recognise that a passenger seated in an emergency exit row may be called upon to assist crew members in the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation and provides advice to airlines on the criteria for appropriate passengers to be seated in over-wing exit rows.
- a minimum of 15 years old
- can understand and converse in English
- are not travelling with an infant
- are not travelling with someone who requires their assistance in an emergency
- are willing to provide assistance to cabin crew and other passengers in the event of an emergency.
Cabin crew can move a passenger if they do not meet the criteria and passengers can also asked to be moved to another seat if they are uncomfortable with the requirements of being an over-wing exit row passenger.
CASA is currently drafting new regulations in Part 121, which will contain specific regulations regarding exit rows.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has no regulations for seat pitch, passenger space or seating room, as it is a matter for the airline to determine in conjunction with the aircraft manufacturer and the aircraft’s certificating authority.
These regulatory authorities also set the maximum number of seats that may be installed on an aircraft, CASA recognises these standards. For Boeing this is the United States Federal Aviation Administration and for Airbus the National Civil Aviation Administration.
CASA does regulate the design and tested strength of seats used in aircraft to ensure that the seat types, including the seat belts, have been tested to international standards.
Apart from exit row seating restrictions, it is up to an airline’s discretion as to whether they allocate seating to passengers or allow passengers to choose their own seats, but at all times they must adhere to CASA regulations on correct aircraft weight and balance. All aircraft have their own weight limitations, centre of gravity and balance requirements for the safe operation of the aircraft.