CASA “reboots” consultation with industry

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is setting up a new consultation body. (CASA)
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is setting up a new consultation body. (CASA)

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) plans to set up a new consultative body to better obtain the views of industry.

The Aviation Safety Advisory Panel will comprise representatives from the Australian Airports Association, the Australian Aviation Associations Forum, Recreational Aviation Australia, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia.

Described as a “reboot” of its consultation processes, CASA said the changes would “streamline consultation and ensure the aviation community is directly involved in the early setting of safety and regulatory objectives and policies”.

The Aviation Safety Advisory Panel will be established from July 1, CASA said in a statement on Friday.

The aviation safety regulator said the new consultation arrangements followed a review of the approach taken by similar bodies globally, advice from a working group of the Standards Consultative Committee and discussions with key aviation representative groups and organisations.

CASA director of aviation safety and chief executive Shane Carmody said the new body would be “the forum through which we seek to agree on the objectives and policy outcomes – before we then call our technical experts to do the detailed work”.

“CASA’s overriding responsibility for aviation safety leadership, however, means that there will always be limits,” Carmody said in a statement.

“We cannot appease everyone, nor meet every request as regulatory activities are inherently challenging and CASA ultimately has to make the call on major safety questions.

“My intention is that once we have settled on a position we will stick to it and deliver on what we have said we will deliver. If we can do this, we will maintain the trust and respect of the aviation community as a whole.”

The new advisory panel replaces existing consultative committees and advisory groups the Standards Consultative Committee, Director’s Advisory Panel, Airspace and Aerodrome Consultative Forum and the Regional Aviation Safety Forum.

Carmody, who was appointed the permanent CASA director of aviation safety and chief executive in early June after serving in an acting capacity following the resignation of Mark Skidmore in August 2016, thanked everyone who had served on consultation panels in the past. However, he said the current setup was no longer serving the industry or community well.

“We have looked at our various consultation mechanisms and found that there is far too much complexity and duplication,” Carmody said in a statement.

“This often clouded effective and genuine engagement.”

Initial Aviation Safety Advisory Panel members (two-year term):
John Thomas, Group Executive, Virgin Australia
John Gissing, Group Executive, Qantas Group
Caroline Wilkie, Chief Executive, Australian Airports Association
Greg Russell, Honorary Chair, The Australian Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF)
Jim Davis, Chairman, Regional Aviation Association of Australia and TAAAF member
Michael Monck, Chairman, Recreational Aviation Australia and TAAAF member

*Professor Pat Murray, University of Southern Queensland will be the panel’s independent chair for the first 12 months. Prof Murray is the current chair of the Standards Consultative Committee.