The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) says that changes to cockpit access rules which are being reintroduced by the government into federal Parliament could decrease air safety and criminalise pilots.
The union has expressed its concern that the proposed changes to the Australian Aviation Transport Regulations, which were subject to a disallowance motion in the Senate last year, would prevent licensed pilots from accessing the flightdeck, and would also transfer legal liability from the airlines to individual pilots.
AIPA president Captain Barry Jackson said that an independent study commissioned by AIPA into the proposed changes showed that there was great benefit in allowing non-flying pilots into the cockpit. “The results of this detailed, independent study clearly found that having an additional licensed pilot on the flightdeck enhanced safety and security, which is hardly surprising, because if you can’t trust pilots on the flightdeck, who can you trust?” he said.
Jackson also said that AIPA was concerned about how the new regulations would shift responsibility for flightdeck security to individual pilots. “Shifting criminal responsibility to the pilot in command undermines a long held aviation principle that the airline is ultimately responsible for the actions of its pilots.”
In announcing the Aviation White Paper last year, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese noted that the government would make reintroducing the changes to the regulations a priority, noting that it should not be up to pilots to decide who can or cannot enter the flightdeck during a scheduled flight.