Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) will establish a dedicated team of full-time staff to address issues raised by the suite of new licensing regulations.
There will be 26 people assigned to the taskforce, whose job it will be to find solutions to issues identified with CASA’s Regulations Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142, CASA said in a statement on Tuesday.
CASA said the taskforce, which was expected to begin work immediately, would initially focus on reviewing transition arrangements and prioritising issues.
“The taskforce will ensure known or likely safety risks continue to be effectively addressed by the licensing regulations,” CASA said.
“At the same time it will make sure unnecessary costs are not imposed by the regulations and that they are not an impediment to participation in aviation or potential future growth.”
In addition to the taskforce, CASA has also invited representatives from the nation’s key aviation industry groups – The Australian Aviation Associations Forum, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, the Australian Helicopter Industry Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Australian Business Aviation Association, the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia and the Aerial Application Association of Australia – to join a new advisory panel.
The panel will also include representatives from the regular public transport and mustering sectors, flying schools, and the tertiary education sector.
CASA director of aviation safety Mark Skidmore said the taskforce and advisory panel would work “intensively” to address unintended consequences in the licensing suite.
“CASA has already addressed many concerns that have been identified in the new licensing regulations but I understand more needs to be done,” Skidmore said in a statement.
“This is a priority and that’s why I need a dedicated team of people within CASA working full-time on the issues.
“Just as importantly we need advice and guidance from the aviation community to prioritise actions and verify that successful solutions have been found.
“The advisory panel will meet formally as required and at other times I expect its members to be in close contact with the CASA taskforce as work progresses.
“I require real solutions to the issues with the licensing suite as quickly as they can be delivered.”
CASA said it had already addressed more than half of the 98 licensing issues that came up via feedback from industry and the aviation community.
The aviation safety watchdog has also announced a one-year extension of the transition period for Parts 141 and 142, which cover flying training. The transition now has to be completed by August 31 2018.
“The additional transition time will give CASA more time to arrange a smooth transition by providing additional guidance material and for identified issues to be resolved,” CASA said.
The Australian Aviation Associations’ Forum recently expressed concern with the slow pace of change at CASA and the cost of compliance with new regulations.
And Australian Helicopter Industry Association president Peter Crook has urged his colleagues to “take a stand against the unfair treatment of our industry by the regulator and stop the distraction caused by the mismanaged regulatory reform process”.
“We have been working hard to protect the industry’s existence but it seems CASA is not listening, heeding our suggestions or accepting our offers of assistance,” Crook wrote to AHIA members.