Working in collaboration to enhance aviation safety
Thank you for the invitation to join the 2nd Annual Safety in Aviation – Asia conference this afternoon. Conferences like these provide a terrific opportunity to meet up with diverse range of aviation personalities from this part of the world and exchange ideas on many facets of the aviation industry and in particular, safety aspects that are fundamental to growth of this industry.
Growth in Asia and influence in the Australian aviation landscape
The transformation of the Asian region into the economic powerhouse of the world is not only unstoppable, it is gathering pace. These developments have profound implications for people in the aviation industry all over the world.
My understanding is that within only few years, Asia will not only be the world's largest producer of goods and services, it will also be the world's largest consumer of them. It is already the most populous region in the world and importantly, it has the majority of the world's increasingly wealthy and mobile middle class - I would call them the catalyst for growth in aviation - who's influence will be central to creating new opportunities. To put some perspective, last year alone, international passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific grew by 5.2 per cent.
Australia's aviation landscape is changing for ever. Until not long ago, the United Kingdom was the source for greatest numbers of arrivals to our shores, ironically it now ranks well behind China.
Of the top 10 countries with flight links into Australia, three of the four fastest growing was in Asia. By 2020-and that's not many years from now-nearly half of all inbound arrivals through our ports will have originated in the Asia-Pacific region.
These dynamics pushing us to think of ways to strengthen an already strong aviation safety culture between countries in this part of the world.
Just as this region has a lot to offer us, we have a lot to offer to this region. Australia has world-leading aviation institutions, a multicultural and highly skilled workforce, a productive, open and strong presence with other international aviation partners where we could act as an honest broker to transfer knowledge and experiences to this region.
With this growth in the industry, CASA as Australia's aviation regulator have an important role to play in making a safer regulatory policy environment within which our aviation industry needs to operate effectively and efficiently and above all safely, as at the end of the day, we are dealing with the lives of the travelling public. Therefore, the role of a safety regulator should not be under estimated.
CASA's international engagement– bilateral relationships
Australia has the strength that comes from a history of long standing relationships with countries in Asia. In some ways the close proximity and the diverse demographics of our country has contributed to form strong and robust relationships in this region.
Our international relationships are aimed at contributing to Australia's efforts to meet its international civil aviation obligations as stated under the Civil Aviation Act 1988. But equally, having strong working relationships with key aviation safety partners will both promote the development of Australia's civil aviation safety capabilities and enhance the aviation safety of neighbouring Asia-Pacific countries.
Engagement with the global aviation industry, and with aviation safety regulators in other countries, is a vital part of CASA's role. CASA achieves this through participation in international forums, particularly the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and through direct discussions and arrangements with overseas agencies.
Australia is a signatory to the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), which provides for the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation.
Australia's participation in ICAO is shared with CASA, Airservices Australia – provider of Australia's air navigation and aviation rescue and firefighting services, and the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, under a tripartite agreement to ensure a coordinated and consistent approach.
CASA has assisted Australia in maintaining its status as a Member State of Chief Importance through participation in a number of panels, working groups and other forums.
All of our international work takes into consideration our responsibility as the aviation safety regulator in Australia. A productive engagement with other regulators benefits us all, through increased standardisation and knowledge building.
CASA has been working to establish contacts with key aviation safety regulators in the Asia–Pacific region with a view to establishing arrangements that reduce the regulatory burden without compromising safety. These agreements also benefit industry and bring opportunities to work across participating states in some cases.
Let's look at some of the important existing relationships we have in this part of the world.
CASA and the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) have commenced examining each other's safety regulatory systems as the first step to commence scoping and negotiations to establish a working arrangement on airworthiness certification.
A working arrangement between the two authorities on airworthiness certification can only be entered into following examination of each authority's aviation safety regulations. CASA and the CAAC have spent a considerable amount of time working together to be satisfied that the safety standards in each country are comparable to its own, including joint visits to members of industry.
Once this arrangement has been entered into, it will reduce the economic burden of duplicate inspections and certification on aircraft and aviation products between China and Australia.
CASA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Hong Kong have commenced scoping and negotiation to establish a working arrangement initially covering certification, possibly expanding to cover maintenance.
CASA and the CAA Hong Kong continue to work closely together to examine each other's aviation safety regulations and it is expected that an arrangement will be in place by the end of 2013. An arrangement such as this will further reduce the duplication of inspections and certification for aircraft and aviation products.
CASA and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation on aviation safety. This MoU led to the development of a Technical Arrangement on maintenance with Singapore. Implementation for Australian operators is subject to the making of the Miscellaneous Amendment Regulations expected in mid-May 2013.
The technical arrangement on maintenance is the first such arrangement to be entered into by CASA and is a reflection of the high standards of the aviation safety regulations and safety oversight achieved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
At the same time, work is continuing on a technical arrangement on airworthiness certification once further familiarisation visits have been conducted at facilities in Singapore and Australia. The Technical Arrangement on airworthiness certification will permit mutual recognition and will further reduce the duplication of inspections and certification for aircraft and aviation products.
CASA and the Korean Office of Civil Aviation have signed a memorandum of understanding and implementation procedures for airworthiness. The memorandum of understanding is intended to facilitate acceptance of each authority's airworthiness approvals and requirements, approval of aeronautical products and design approval. This has the potential to reduce the economic burden imposed on the aviation industry both in Australia and Korea, in that duplication of technical inspections, evaluations and testing will be significantly reduced.
We have strong ties with New Zealand through the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement made between the governments of New Zealand and Australia which provides for the recognition of each other's occupations, products and services. It also covers professional flight crew licences, including the ratings and endorsements on those licences which are recognised in legislation in both countries.
Further we have the High Level Arrangement and Operational Arrangement, which provides mutual recognition of aviation related certification within the scope of the Air Services Agreement between Australia and New Zealand.
In addition to the important bilateral relationships I have mentioned, CASA values its multilateral engagement through a number of regional forums, like this one.
CASA is actively involved in a number of regional groups, for example our participation in the Cooperate Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Program South East Asia, or COSCAP-SEA.
COSCAP-SEA was implemented to improve the flight safety oversight capabilities of South East Asian states in a cooperative manner. The Deputy Director of Aviation Safety is part of COSCAP-SEA's steering committee and CASA has found that the strong focus on regional cooperation through this group provides valuable safety data in the region and how the safety concerns may be tackled.
We also participate in a number of regional ICAO working groups; for example, Australia has representatives on both the APRAST working groups, and in the case of the Safety Reporting Programme Group has worked closely with our regional colleagues to develop the first Annual Safety Report for the Asia and Pacific Region.
This has been achieved by working collaboratively with our colleagues to gather information, process this data, analyse and publish the report. I acknowledge the efforts of Bangladesh and Singapore in carrying out the work to date, and Australia as the champion of the publishing group looks forward to finalising this report in the near future.
The overarching group that APRAST reports to is the Regional Aviation Safety Group – Asia Pacific (RASG-APAC), which I chair. The RASG–APAC is tasked with developing and implementing a work program that supports a regional performance framework for the management of safety on the basis of ICAO's Global Aviation Safety Plan and the Global Aviation Safety Roadmap. The reports of RASG–APAC meetings will be reviewed by the ICAO Air Navigation Commission on a regular basis and by the ICAO Council as necessary.
Further, CASA provides subject matter expertise to the sub-groups and task-forces of the Asia Pacific Air Navigation Planning and Implementation Regional Group (APANPIRG). Representation in APANPIRG, along with representation to many other aviation safety groups is managed through the Tripartite Structure (being the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, CASA and Airservices Australia). Australia has adopted this approach to ensure that our attendance in a group is made by a subject matter expert who is able to provide their experience to the relevant discussions, panels and working groups. The Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority also provide expertise to APANPIRG.
The complex system of ICAO working groups is able to deliver outcomes on the specific concerns and issues of each region and in each pillar of aviation governance. We then bring this together through global groups to ensure international consistency, while retaining regional implementation.
Lastly, there are a number of strategic oversight forums CASA attends, like the annual regional Directors General of Civil Aviation Conference. This provides us the opportunity to join with our counterparts and draw out the key issues in aviation regulation for the Asia Pacific.
International assistance programs
Papua New Guinea
CASA has had a long standing relationship with our nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea, on aviation safety related issues.
With assistance from the Australian Aid Agency - AusAID, we have been working cooperatively with PNG to enhance its safety oversight capabilities for some time. This has included technical training and mentoring in such areas as dangerous goods and airworthiness.
AusAID has recently approved a significant expansion of Australia's transport safety program with PNG and CASA has been allocated almost $800,000 for CASA's work with PNG. As a result, over the next three years our engagement with CASA PNG will include a range of activities focusing on corporate communications and mentoring, legal services, safety education and promotion, technical training and development and long-term technical staff secondments.
Since 2007 Australia has been working with Indonesia on transport safety issues under the Government funded Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package (ITSAP).
The purpose of ITSAP is to assist Indonesia to regulate and promote transport safety in accordance with applicable international standards and contemporary safety management practices, consistent with the priorities of the Indonesian Government. The assistance is provided to Indonesia in accordance with a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the transport sector between the governments of Australia and Indonesia.
CASA has played a key role in the delivery of ITSAP over the last six years. This has included provision of extensive technical training, safety promotion and assistance with development of regulation and guidance material.
The current phase of ITSAP is funded till June 2014 and CASA will continue to work with the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation on key safety oversight issues for Indonesia, such as developing a consistent framework for enforcement, certifying the new Indonesian single air navigation service provider and delivering safety promotion workshops on runway excursions and mountainous terrain operations.
CASA has in place a memorandum of understanding with the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAFI), signed in May 2011, allowing CASA to provide regulatory advice and assistance services to the authority on a cost-recovery basis.
Pacific Aviation Safety Office
CASA has been involved with the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) since its inception. This has included providing technical advice and support to the PASO's Council and offering technical assistance and training. We remain committed to working with PASO.
CASA's vision is Safe Skies for all, and our stated mission is to enhance and promote aviation safety through effective regulation and by encouraging the wider aviation community to embrace and deliver higher standards of safety.
This mission extends beyond Australia's borders and remains committed to actively engaging with the global aviation community to further enhance aviation safety that will contribute to the growth of the aviation industry we regulate.
Future priorities for CASA in international engagement
As with most civil aviation authorities, CASA has finite resources available for international engagement and must target its engagement to ensure that its influence results in aviation safety outcomes that benefit Australia as well as our neighbours.
Our priorities for future international engagement include:
- continuing to be involved in the development and implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices and to that end, we will engage with other aviation safety stakeholders, within and outside ICAO
- maintaining a high profile presence in the region through its leadership in the Regional Aviation Safety Group and support for the work of the Pacific Aviation Safety Office
- continuing to play an important role in Australia's engagement in the Asia-Pacific region on aviation safety matters. In particular, CASA will continue to provide assistance to its regional counterparts through Australian Government initiatives such as the PNG-Australia Memorandum of Understanding on Transport and the Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package
- making better use of available and appropriate global resources (e.g. ICAO reports and data bases, similar reports and data bases produced by other state and regional aviation safety authorities and organisations with related interests) in support of our audit and certification processes, with a view to reducing duplication of effort for both CASA and the industry
- continuing to monitor and assess international safety developments as a means of informing the process by which CASA benchmarks and improves its own safety program. At the same time, CASA will continue to participate in and contribute to activities and events that allow CASA to influence and affect regional and global safety developments.
Regulatory development process in CASA
I would like to give you an overview of CASA's regulatory reform program, with a particular emphasis on the transparency of the process and how we keep our feedback links open through a consultative mechanism with all interested parties.
I understand, the consultative process applies at varying magnitudes in this region, but I like to share the Australian story as it may open up discussion about the transparency of the process and how we use feedback loops to understand the severity of an issue and use the same loop to soften the resistance to change.
The development of new rules is not a process done in isolation by CASA. We make sure that the development of regulatory standards done in a collaborative process involving CASA and the aviation community and ensure that the views and contributions of all participants are considered in an open, transparent, structured and disciplined manner. This combined effort has helped us to address known safety risks in a cost effective manner.
We are moving more quickly today than ever before to replace the Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs) with the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs). The suite of regulatory reforms has been previously attempted over many decades, but in the last four years, we have seen a commendable progress.
Rules cannot remain static
Updating our regulations is part of the continual improvement of aviation safety. Rules cannot remain static – as safety knowledge and understanding improves, the rules must evolve to reflect better safety practices, new technology and scientific research.
We all know that one of our key challenges is to maintain and improve safety. This has not changed, but the environment we operate in continues to change and evolve.
The aviation sector is probably the safest it has ever been, but it takes effort and vigilance to make this happen. This is not just the role of the regulator; it is the responsibility of the whole aviation industry. We must continue to adapt to a changing environment and we must continue to improve.
Naturally, some aviation people are asking why change the regulations and what are the benefits? The overarching aim is, of course, to create a safer aviation system in Australia.
It is important to understand that the current rules are old and in some cases out-dated. Many were first drafted more than 30 years ago and the origins of some go back even further. The current rules do not properly fit with a modern aviation system and the latest technologies. To make them work CASA has been issuing exemptions to allow the aviation industry to meet ongoing operational needs.
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 grounds of safety risk.
For the aviation industry there will be a range of benefits flowing from the new regulations. The CASRs are logically organised into clear parts. This will make it much easier for the industry to find and apply the relevant requirements. For example, under the current system, requirements and standards are spread across the CARs, CAOs and the myriad of exemptions. This means the current rule set can be hard to access, follow and use.
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.
Industry consultation – an iterative process
As a Commonwealth government authority, CASA has made a commitment to improving mechanisms for consultation with all relevant stakeholders. Consultation enables both the regulator and the regulated parties to have a good understanding of the proposal, alternative options to address it, possible administrative and compliance mechanisms and associated benefits, costs and risks. Conversely, lack of consultation can lead to regulation that is inappropriate to the circumstances, costly to comply with, poorly adhered to, or that is unnecessary.
CASA's aim in stakeholder engagement is to ensure that its decision-making processes are effective, fair, timely, transparent, consistent, properly documented and otherwise in accordance with the requirements of the law.
CASA is responsible for promoting full and effective consultation and communication with all interested parties on aviation safety issues and consult with government, commercial, industrial, consumer and other relevant bodies and organisations.
We encourage everyone interested to play an active role in providing feedback when our Discussion Papers, Notice of Proposed Rule Making and draft regulations are out for industry consultation. This can be long and arduous process, but at the same time can be rewarding as there is better chance of getting right the first time.
We carefully consider the views of all interested sectors of the industry and the wider aviation community, and take all reasonable comments and submissions into account before any rules are finalised.
Implementation of new regulations
It is important to note that making the regulations is only the first step. There are also considerable implementation issues for both CASA and the industry to ensure that these regulations are put in place safely and effectively.
We are in the midst of transitioning to new operational regulations, flight crew licensing regulations and airworthiness and maintenance regulations.
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.
During the implementation phase, CASA will provide information, support, training and advice to make the change as smooth as possible.
As we all understand, aviation industry is fast moving and dynamic in nature – we must be ready to meet the challenges of the future and find ways to deliver better safety outcomes.
We are continuously looking at ways to enhance aviation safety in Australia and looking at ways to share our experience with countries in this region. After all, most of us gathered here today are some way connected to delivering an aviation safety system that performs even better, with risks identified and managed to minimise accidents and incidents, so that the traveling public feels safe to travel.