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CASA pushes back start of new flight operation rules

written by Adam Thorn | March 2, 2020

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has pushed back the start date of its crucial new flight operation regulations from 25 March to 2 December 2020.

CASA said it made the move because it received feedback from working groups that stakeholders needed more time to adapt to the changes.

The new rules will apply to all pilots and operators who fly in Australia, and will replace the existing Civil Aviation Regulations and Civil Aviation Orders.

Essentially, they will replace hundreds of documents such as regulations, orders, exemptions, approvals, permissions, instructions and directions.


CASA has made the changes to improve safety, stating, “It’s not just the rapid advances in technology and the increasing complexity of the operating environment.

“Public expectations about aviation safety have also changed – what might have been acceptable decades ago is no longer the case.

“The new flight operations regulations balance best international practices with local operating conditions.”

As well as the full legal documents, CASA is also promising to introduce a “comprehensive plain English guide” as well as a mapping tool showing where a rule is in the current legislation compared with the older texts.

CASA added, “One of the main aims of the new rules is to improve the safety of charter operations. There is a significant statistical difference in accident rates between charter and regular public transport (RPT) flights.

“There are also, currently, different regulatory requirements for RPT and charter. The new rules reduce this difference by creating one category of air transport, but scale the requirements to the size and complexity of the operations.

“Rather than relying on multiple exemptions, and a confusing proliferation of Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 and Civil Aviation Orders, the new rules consolidate existing requirements into activity-based parts.”

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Comments (2)

  • Craig Crumblin


    CASA`s assertion that it is industry that requires more time is not true. Part 138 is looking like it will be much like Part 61. CASA are still trying to write the MOS for Part 138 and then need to do public consultation. The original time frame was not going to allow CASA to fix any of the problems that public consultation flushes out once they wrote the MOS.
    Part 137 seems missing in action and as it looks like rotary fire fighting is to be skidded into 137 so it is a waste of time to have public consultation with it still in Part 138.
    Saying industry are dragging to chain is just wrong, and CASA should be embarrassed after bragging about “making” Part 138 in 2018, without a Manual of Standards.
    In the “Aerial Work Sector”, Part 61 is still causing a lot of problems and many of the issues have nothing to do with aligning with other aviation states.

  • Sandy Reith


    Criticism of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in regard to the implementation of new Part 138 dealing with charter flights is correct.

    CASA was tasked with a total rewrite of the rules over thirty years ago and last year, wrongly, boasted that it had completed this task. Around fifteen years ago, by CASA’s own figures, it had spent more than $200 million in an incredible make work process that continues today unabated. This is the modus operandi of a body that has no other direction or incentive because successive governments have abandoned responsibility for the proper administration of civil aviation in Australia, hence the three parts demise of what was once a strong and growing General Aviation (GA) industry.

    To date the total rules rewrite spend is unknown but thought to be closer to $500 million. New Zealand managed to rewrite their rules in a short time for around $5 million and their rules are largely fit for purpose and therefore they have a prosperous GA industry.

    CASA’s claim that changed community standards of safety demand new rules is spurious. The new licencing rules of Part 61, which, in conjunction with years of increased paperwork, CASA’s permission fee gouging and Parts 141/142 (new rules for flying schools) have destroyed hundreds of flying schools and their associated charter services. There was no community demand for changed standards and I defy CASA to procure such evidence that supports it’s fallacious contention. There’s no doubt that we all look for improvements which come with knowledge, prosperity and growth. Now with the ubiquitous ability to communicate risk and reward, which can be readily assessed, our freedoms should be enhanced, not truncated by a self serving bureaucracy.

    CASA’s predations on GA are counterproductive to safety. Examples are the loss of experienced instructors and the mish mash of training rules between the low weight category and mainstream GA which bear directly on the recent problems of Soar Aviation, related pending class action and a plethora of similar cases festering in the background.

    In the regions and country areas the almost complete loss of light aircraft charter has led to under-the-lap private charters in a less regulated environment. Similarly for aircraft maintenance, the ever changing rules, unnecessary and expensive maintenance imposts (eg., Cessna Special Inspections) and disincentives for the training of maintenance apprenticeships all conspire against safety. Inevitably making operations completely devoid of any official oversight more attractive at the margins.
    Where flying charter or private category is not available or too expensive then long and dangerous road trips may be the only alternative, provided the road is passable.

    This is the reality of GA in Australia, a scene of death by a thousand regulatory cuts and the loss thousands of jobs and hundreds of GA businesses, and, incredibly, the need to import airline pilots. Not to mention such debacles as the Mildura Airport saga, a manifestation of a thoroughly failed Commonwealth airports policy that made no provision for freehold availability, the obvious cornerstone for any successful businesses which are necessarily tied to a physical location.

    Not one more government inquiry into any facet of GA, such as the latest Senate Estimates variety, in a very long, almost continuous make work program of Government Industries, will make one iota of difference to this shameful state of affairs. The last great and hopeful example, the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (Forsyth Report) commenced in 2014 has seemingly sunk without trace. Thousands of hours of both paid and voluntary work, submissions and the salaries and fees of the officials employed, virtually all wasted.

    Parliamentary action is the only possible means to regrow this important segment of Australian life. Engaging with our MPs should be regarded as a duty, to inform, persuade and to encourage root and branch reform.

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