The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has grounded Western Australia-based Alligator Airways, saying the charter carrier poses a “serious and imminent risk to air safety.”
The grounding, which took effect yesterday, covers the next five days, during which CASA will apply to the Federal Court for an extension as it continues to investigate the airline.
Alligator Airways bills itself as “the Kimberley’s favourite airline” and has been in operation since 1983, according to its website. The airline operates charter tours from Kununurra and Broome in aircraft including a seven-seat GA8 Airvan.
CASA said it had served “a number” of show cause notices on Alligator Airways during 2011 and 2012 due to concerns about aircraft maintenance, failure to report incidents, inadequate pilot training records, a deficient safety culture, an inability of key personnel to carry out their safety obligations and key positions being unoccupied or not functional.
Since the last show cause notice was filed, CASA said, the airline had suffered several incidents involving forced landings “where CASA believes employees of Alligator Airways were aware of significant defects affecting the safety of aircraft prior to flight.”
“In the circumstance, CASA no longer has confidence in the ability of Alligator Airways to satisfactorily address the safety issues that have been identified,” the safety agency said in a statement.