The imminent appointment of a new director of aviation safety represents a chance for a fresh start for the aviation sector, the Australian Aviation Associations’ Forum says.
Industry “stands ready and enthusiastic to bring in a new era of enlightened regulation for aviation safety in Australia to repair the damage of recent years”, according to Chris Manning, honorary chair of Australian Aviation Associations’ Forum.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) director of aviation safety John McCormick was due to leave at the end of August, after announcing in February that he would not seek an extension of his contract.
The safety regulator was heavily criticised in the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR), commissioned by the federal government late last year.
The review, also known as the Forsyth Report, called for substantial cultural and structural changes at CASA and for better leadership of and coordination between Australia’s aviation safety agencies.
Moreover, it said the relationship between CASA and the aviation industry was “in many cases, adversarial”.
The report said the appointment of a new director of aviation safety was a chance to reform the culture of the organisation.
Manning said industry, after being very patient over the past 12 months, was keen to “see real change and a more positive, cooperative relationship with CASA”, which was the “benchmark of good aviation safety regulation across the world”.
“The industry has a mature approach to aviation safety and recognises that working with a regulator is far more likely to produce positive safety outcomes than the inappropriate aggressive regulatory stance identified in the Forsyth Report into CASA,” Manning said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The Minister’s imminent announcement of the new CASA board, the announcement of the successful candidate for the director of air safety/CASA CEO position, the outlining of a new direction for CASA through the government’s response to the Forsyth Report and the government’s honouring of its pre-election commitments to an Aviation Industry Consultative Council and other measures represent a significant changing of the guard.”
Manning called for the commencement of new regulations regarding pilot licencing (Part 61) and training organisations (Part 141) to be deferred given CASA, “and consequently industry”, was not ready.
“Part 61 is an overcomplicated and overweight document that would benefit from an intense period of quality control,” the former Qantas chief pilot said.
CASA said on Wednesday the appointment of a new director of aviation safety was a matter for deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and regional development Warren Truss.
Australian Aviation has sought comment from the minister’s office.