Speech to Australian Aviation Club by Director of Aviation Safety
Canberra – 30 August 2012
I’m sure you are aware that Australia is moving from the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CARs) to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASRs).
There are going to be new operational regulations, flight crew licensing regulations and airworthiness and maintenance regulations.
Updating the rules is part of the continual improvement of safety. Rules cannot remain static – as safety knowledge and understanding improves, the rules must evolve to reflect better safety practices and to incorporate new technology.
CASA seeks to align any new regulations as closely as practicable with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices, and to harmonise where appropriate with the standards of leading aviation countries, unless differences are justified on safety risk grounds.
The current regulations are decades old and badly in need of updating – a reflection of how the present rules are not meeting contemporary needs can illustrated by the fact that over the last few years, CASA has had to issue approximately 1,700 exemptions to meet ongoing requirements. Regulation by exemption is an unsatisfactory means of doing business and can lead to perceptions that the aviation industry is not operating on a level playing field.
The CASRs are grouped in logical Parts, grouping together all regulatory aspects particular to a specific activity. This will make it much easier for the industry to find and apply the relevant regulations.
Specific aspects of the regulations are designed to address known and likely safety risks, and aim to further strengthen the current regulatory structure to deliver improved safety outcomes.
Wherever possible regulations are being drafted to specify the safety outcome, unless in the interests of safety, more prescriptive requirements need to be specified.
Drafting the regulations – it’s a long and strenuous process
To expedite the drafting of the regulations a Regulatory Task Force was formed with the Attorney General's Department. This has proved successful.
New regulations are developed through the combined effort of CASA and expert industry working groups with an aim to address known risks.
Any proposal with substantial regulatory impact must include and have accepted a Regulatory Impact Statement, which usually includes a Cost Benefit Analysis.
All the proposed regulations have been subject to extensive consultation with the aviation industry.
Operational regulations (CASR Parts 91, 119, 121, 129, 132, 133 and 135)
Each new rule part covers a particular aviation activity and builds from the foundation parts - Part 91 (General operating and flight rules) and Part 119 (Australian air transport operators – certification and management).
The current distinction between Regular Public Transport (RPT) and Charter will be removed with the establishing of the air transport category. Part 121 will deal with large aeroplane operations while Part 135 will set the standards for small aeroplane operation in this category.
The intent is to narrow the gap that currently exists between the current RPT and Charter categories while at the same time recognising many of the RPT provisions may not be directly transferrable to a Part 135 operation.
Recognising that some of the envisaged changes will be significant, CASA will ensure that the transition period to the new rules gives operators adequate time to allocate resources and make changes to their operations and manuals.
Flight crew licensing and training regulations (CASR Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142)
A final draft is expected in September of CASR Part 61 – flight crew licensing. The development of the Manual of Standards for this Part is in progress.
CASR Part 64 – Authorisations for non-licensed personnel - was published for industry/public consultation on 2 August 2012. Comments are due to close on 14 September.
Public consultation was conducted and comments closed in February on CASR Part 141 – recreational, private and commercial pilot flight training other than integrated training.
Public consultation on CASR Part 142 – integrated and multi-crew pilot flight training and contracted recurrent training and checking closed in March.
Comments are being incorporated and final drafts are expected soon.
We are aiming to make Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142 by the end of this year and bring them into effect by end of next year.
Airworthiness and maintenance regulations (CASR Parts 42 and 145)
Part 145, which only applies to regular public transport operations, was made in December 2010. Affected operators and maintenance organisations are currently transitioning, over a two year period (July 2011 to June 2013).
There are 31 air operators and approximately 220 maintenance organisations to be transitioned.
Work is now underway to develop the policy and proposals for the development of rules to cover the maintenance of aircraft other than those engaged in regular public transport.
Recently there has been some disturbingly misinformed debate within sections of the current general aviation community about these still to be developed new maintenance regulations. It is clear some people believe all of the new maintenance regulations currently covering the regular public transport sector are to be directly applied to general aviation.
Let me make it very clear: this is not the case. The new suite of maintenance regulations that came into effect in late June 2011 apart from licensing Parts, only applies to operators and maintainers of regular public transport aircraft.
At the time CASA clearly and publicly stated: ‘Revised maintenance regulations for other sectors of aviation such as charter, aerial work and private operations will be developed at a later date, after wide consultation with these sectors’. This position and CASA’s commitment to it have not changed.
Over the last year CASA has been working, in conjunction with expert representatives from the aviation industry, on proposals for new maintenance regulations for the general aviation sector. When these proposals are adequately developed, everyone will get an ample opportunity to have their say.
The consultation process will include the release of discussion papers, notices of proposed rulemaking and draft regulations. The discussion papers will open a wide ranging conversation with the aviation industry and other stakeholders about the proposed direction of the new maintenance regulations.
No matter what you may have heard or from who you have heard it, and contrary to some of the ill-informed statements in the aviation press, the new maintenance rules for the non-regular public transport sectors have not been determined, and will not be pre-determined.
We fully recognise the RPT maintenance regulations cannot simply be applied across the board. Each sector of aviation is different and the new regulations will reflect those important differences.
However, if aspects of the RPT maintenance regulations are relevant and appropriate to some other sectors of the industry, then, subject to the outcome of the consultation process, those provisions may be incorporated into the proposed new rules.
The development of new rules is not a process done in isolation by CASA and I encourage you to play an active role in providing feedback when the discussion papers are out for industry consultation as each of you individually – and collectively in bodies such as this represented here today - can provide valuable input to the successful development of new rule sets.
CASA will carefully consider the views of all interested sectors of the industry and the wider aviation community, and we will take all reasonable comments and submissions into account before any rules are finalised.
CASA recognises that there are constraints on the ability of sections of the industry to absorb extensive and rapid changes to regulations, and this is a factor CASA will carefully consider in the development of timelines for regulatory implementation.