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) is CASA’s forum that 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 chaired by industry. In 2008–09 more than 200 CASA and industry participants were involved in the SCC and its six subcommittees.
The SCC’s principal task in 2008–09 was 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, Manuals of Standards and advisory circulars.
The objectives of the SCC included the following:
- to consider regulatory proposals that have been submitted by CASA, with a view to deciding whether a proposal is worthy of consideration and, if so, to recommend a level of priority for the regulatory work involved
- to identify individual industry experts (through the aviation industry members of the SCC) to work with CASA staff on the development of regulatory proposals
- to inform CASA of developments that have an impact on the industry and safety issues that require action. This ensures that the diverse yet significant needs of each industry sector are recognised and respected during the rule-making process.
The SCC served as a forum for consultation on a broad range of issues relating to CASA’s responsibilities. The SCC also received feedback from CASA on how CASA has managed SCC recommendations, so that the decision-making process is open, transparent and accountable.
The SCC also considered decisions from its subcommittees, established processes and procedures for the subcommittees and helped to resolve conflicting industry views arising between subcommittees. SCC members were important contributors to CASA’s public consultation documents, including discussion papers and notices of proposed rule making.
In summary, the SCC provided a forum where CASA and the aviation industry could raise and exchange new ideas, test new initiatives and discuss future developments. This enabled both CASA and the industry to keep abreast of industry trends and issues and to be well placed to commence planning for the development of new standards or regulations that might be required.
The SCC met three times during 2008–09. Some of the key issues considered were:
- progress in the development of the maintenance regulations project, as well as further development of the operational suite of CASR parts
- regular updates on the project to introduce alcohol and other drugs testing for safety sensitive personnel
- various amendments to the CASR, CAR and Civil Aviation Orders.
The SCC also reviewed seven notices of proposed rule making before they were issued for public comment.
Aviation Safety Forum
The Aviation Safety Forum (ASF) is a high-level advisory body that helps the aviation community and CASA to work effectively together to improve aviation safety in Australia.
The ASF is composed of experienced aviation specialists who advise the CASA Director of Aviation Safety on strategic issues. There is also representation from Airservices Australia, the Department of Defence, and the Department of Infrastructure.
In 2008–09 the ASF met five times and discussed a range of issues, including:
- CASA’s alcohol and other drugs testing regime
- regulatory development and legal drafting of regulations
- compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and CASA’s ICAO audit findings
- aviation medicine issues including the development of the online medical records system
- skills shortages
- contingency airspace.
The ASF also provided a response to the Australian Government’s Aviation Green Paper in March 2009.
ASF members participated in five subcommittees established to explore new and emerging risks in aviation safety, guided by the publication An Assessment of Trends and Risks in Passenger Air Transport. These joint industry and government groups explored the risks that may arise in the coming years in the broad categories of aircraft, airspace and air traffic management, personnel, airports and government relations. The recommendations of each of the subcommittees were provided to CASA for consideration.
In 2008–09 the members of the ASF were:
- John Bartlett (term expired April 2009)
- Owen Batchelor
- Jim Davis (term expired April 2009)
- Stephen Fankhauser
- Pamela Graham
- Rob Graham
- Bob Hall
- James Kimpton (term expired April 2009)
- Keith Morgan
- Heather Parker
- John Raby (Chair)
- Adrian Verkerk
- representatives from Airservices Australia and the Department of Infrastructure.
Expert Panel on Aircraft Air Quality
In light of increasing awareness of the potential health risks associated with contamination of aircraft cabin air, in 2008 CASA convened an independent Expert Panel on Aircraft Air Quality. The panel’s responsibilities included considering reports of contamination, looking at the evidence available on fume events and providing recommendations to CASA. The panel consisted of experts covering a diverse set of competencies, including clinical toxicology, immunology, epidemiology, aviation medicine and occupational medicine. The panel’s report is expected to be delivered in early 2010.
Aviation Implementation Group and Aviation Policy Group
The Aviation Policy Group (APG) is a CEO-level interagency group that includes the Department of Infrastructure, Airservices Australia, CASA and the RAAF. The APG was formed to establish better working relationships across the four agencies involved in aviation policy, regulation and service provision and 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. The APG met seven times during 2008–09.
The Aviation Implementation Group (AIG) is an interagency forum chaired by the Department of Infrastructure that involves high-level representation from CASA, Airservices Australia and the RAAF. It is an important forum for identifying cross-portfolio aviation issues and maintaining regular communication between the four agencies, and for identifying higher-level issues to pass on to the APG. The AIG met five times during 2008–09.
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 2008–09.
CASA and the ATSB have been revising the memorandum of understanding (MoU) that sets out safety objectives and underlying values to guide the ongoing relationship between the two organisations. The MoU will maximise aviation safety outcomes and enhance public confidence in aviation safety, and reflect changes to each agency’s governance arrangements that take effect on 1 July 2009. The revised MoU is expected to be finalised in late 2009.
As part of the MoU arrangements, CASA reviews and comments on ATSB reports into aspects of aviation safety, including investigations into aircraft accidents or incidents. CASA is considered a ‘directly involved party’ which may be either directly involved in the occurrences or their immediate aftermath or affected by the findings. In 2008–09 CASA responded to 173 such reports.
CASA also responded to 27 requests for information, as required under section 32 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003. Section 32 requests can require the appearance of CASA staff or the provision of documents by a specified date to assist in an investigation.
Under the Air Navigation (Confidential Reporting) Regulations 2006, administered by the ATSB, CASA is required to respond to safety concerns reported through the Aviation Confidential Reporting Scheme (REPCON). REPCON is a voluntary scheme, which enables any person who has an aviation safety concern to report it to the ATSB confidentially. In the event that the concerns are relevant to CASA’s business, these reports are forwarded to CASA, which provides comments on the reports to the ATSB. In 2008–09 CASA responded to 56 such reports.
Complementing activities under the MoU, in 2008–09 CASA established an Accident Liaison and Investigation Unit to manage the agencies’ day-to-day interaction. The unit provides a contact point for the ATSB, reviews all ATSB occurrence reports and prepares responses to ATSB recommendations, and identifies opportunities for aviation safety improvement.
CASA has also established an Accident Investigation Report Review Committee, chaired by the Deputy Director of Aviation Safety, to review and agree on the method of implementation of any formal recommendations from the ATSB.
International stakeholder engagement
International Civil Aviation Organization
Australia is a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), which provides for the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation. Under the Chicago Convention, ICAO, through its international panels and working groups, develops international standards and recommended practices. These standards and recommended practices are published in 18 annexes to the Chicago Convention.
The Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio has carriage of Australia’s participation in ICAO, with the various portfolio agencies taking responsibility for the ICAO activities that fall within their legislative functions. CASA is responsible for seven of the 18 annexes and shares responsibility for a further two annexes with Airservices Australia.
In 2008–09 CASA continued to work cooperatively with portfolio agencies in accordance with a tripartite MoU (between CASA, Airservices Australia and the Department of Infrastructure) regarding Australia’s participation in ICAO matters, and was active in progressing revisions to the MoU.
CASA has identified a number of priorities it wishes to pursue at ICAO and is contributing to a tripartite statement of priorities. Once completed, the statement will provide guidance to Australia’s Council Representative and Australia’s Nominee to the Air Navigation Commission in relation to the work they undertake in ICAO on behalf of the Australian Government.
CASA’s strong support for ICAO activities continued in 2008–09 through its participation on panels and working groups. This included work on the standards for performance-based navigation (important in a technology-driven operating environment); air traffic management requirements; instrument flight procedures; standards for unmanned aerial vehicles; structures around airports; and standards related to medical provisions.
CASA is a member of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program working group formed to ensure that outcomes from the February 2008 ICAO audit of Australia’s overall safety oversight capabilities are addressed. The working group comprises representatives from the Department of Infrastructure, CASA, Airservices Australia, the ATSB, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Bureau of Meteorology, and meets on a quarterly basis to monitor progress against the corrective action plan. The working group reports its progress against the plan to the Aviation Implementation Group, at least once every six months.
Indonesian Director General of Civil Aviation
Under the three-year Indonesian Transport Safety Assistance Package managed by the Department of Infrastructure, CASA works with its counterpart agency, the Indonesian Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to help develop aviation safety culture and capacity in Indonesia.
CASA activities in 2008–09, the second year of the program, included:
- conducting training for 54 DGCA flying operations and airworthiness inspectors in Australia
- assisting DGCA to conduct
- safety management system progress audits on 12 of Indonesia’s aviation operators
- a series of audits (including en route surveillance on several aircraft, the Boeing 737 training system, and a full systems audit) on Garuda Indonesia
- facilitating a small number of industry education activities
- conducting aerodrome inspector training in Australia for 12 DGCA staff
- conducting three Aerodrome Safety Management Systems Workshops for 61 trainees in Jakarta.
CASA acted as an adviser on the DGCA Civil Aviation Transformation Team, which is designed to help guide the DGCA reform program over the next five years. CASA has contributed to Indonesia’s development of a state safety program, facilitated a business planning workshop for the division that is responsible for airline operator oversight, and hosted project visits to Australia for DGCA staff researching subjects such as safety promotion, air traffic services regulatory oversight, the Australian legal framework, licensing, service difficulty and reporting and airport management.
Bilateral agreements and arrangements
Bilateral aviation safety arrangements aim to reduce regulatory duplication and provide greater market access opportunities for Australian manufacturers. CASA progressed a number of such arrangements during 2008–09.
In 2008 CASA and the civil aviation authorities of Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore began discussions on a multilateral arrangement known as the Asia Pacific Multilateral Technical Arrangement. While the discussions initially focused on maintenance, the aim is to broaden the arrangement to cover all areas of safety oversight.
Meetings of the parties were held in October 2008 (in Singapore) and April 2009 (in Sydney). The group is planning to meet in late 2009 to complete the first stages of assessment with a view to progressing towards a draft arrangement in 2010.
This arrangement has the potential to greatly benefit Australian industry by reducing the regulatory burden involved in certification and opening up potential markets for Australian maintenance organisations and Australian airlines.
In 2008–09 much effort was made to finalise amendments to the implementation procedures for airworthiness (IPA) under CASA’s bilateral aviation safety agreement with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
FAA officials visited Australia in November 2007; they investigated Australian parts manufacturer approvals (APMAs) issued by CASA and agreed to vary the IPA to incorporate APMA acceptance by the FAA. The amendments were negotiated during 2008–09 and the wording of the amendments was agreed in May 2009. Formal implementation will be subject to a treaty amendment of IPA by the Australian Parliament, expected to take place in 2009–10.
CASA also commenced discussions with the FAA regarding amending the IPA to include FAA acceptance of Australian supplemental type certificates on all aircraft, including restricted category and rotorcraft, regardless of state of design. Shadow certifications will commence as opportunities for FAA visits to Australia arise during 2009–10. Finalisation of both amendments will enable much easier access to the United States aviation market for Australian parts manufacturers.
In June 2009 CASA met with the European Commission and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Brussels, Belgium, to progress proposed working arrangements on mutual recognition of airworthiness certification and oversight of maintenance organisations.
As a result, a safety annex to the European Union–Australia High Level Air Transport Agreement is being drafted. The annex will be the legal basis for implementing arrangements on airworthiness certification and maintenance. Further down the track, EASA and CASA will consider scope for recognition in other areas, such as pilot certification and simulator standards.
From March 2007, legislation was put in place to enable the mutual recognition of air operator’s certification between Australia and New Zealand. The Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport recommended that a safety assessment be conducted by CASA 12 months after the commencement of mutual recognition of air operator’s certificates. CASA completed that review in November 2008.
CASA also initiated regular teleconferences with the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority. As a result, CASA and the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority have agreed to explore revisions to their existing memorandum of cooperation.
During a visit by representatives of CASA’s counterpart in Brazil, the Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil, it was agreed that the Australian and Brazilian certification systems and procedures were sufficiently compatible to proceed with the development of an MoU and IPA. Agreement in principle was reached on the drafts, pending review by the legal authorities of each country with a view to endorsement by the respective delegates as soon as practicable. The MoU and IPA, once finalised, will have great benefits in terms of simplifying the certification procedures around the Brazilian-manufactured Embraer aircraft operating in Australia.
Pacific Aviation Safety Office
CASA continued to provide technical support to the Australian representative on the Council of the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) throughout 2008–09. PASO has an aviation security inspector, a flying operations inspector and an airworthiness inspector and provides safety oversight operations in the Pacific region.
CASA attended the PASO Annual General Meeting and Technical Subcommittee meetings held in April 2009 in Vanuatu. The next meeting will be held in October 2009 in Solomon Islands.
Papua New Guinea
CASA continued to participate in Papua New Guinea (PNG) Aviation Interagency Implementation Working Group meetings with the Department of Infrastructure, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AusAid, Airservices Australia and the ATSB. The working group was set up to develop a new strategic direction for civil aviation regulation under the Australian Government’s Enhanced Cooperation Program for Papua New Guinea. CASA also provided updates on operational matters concerning Papua New Guinea operators operating into Australia.