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1999 – BASI Review

1999 BASI review

This makes for a good read, particularly the Terms of reference:

basi review 1999


Term of Reference Number 2Are BASI’s activities recognised, valued and supported by the aviation community – particularly those airlines, manufacturers and service providers involved in the carriage of fare-paying passengers?

While there were some notable exceptions, there was overwhelming support for BASI from most of the 60 aviation industry participants who provided formal submissions to the review. Opinions expressed in informal consultation also confirmed this. The sheer number of both formal and informal submissions attested to the broad external recognition of the Bureau. There was almost universal acceptance of the need for a safety ‘watchdog’ that is independent of the regulator (CASA).
The role of BASI in concentrating its efforts on the fare-paying passenger was not universally recognised or accepted. This was the most divisive aspect in the submissions. The most telling criticism came from the general aviation (GA) sector, with the most critical opponent of current practice being the Aircraft * and Pilots Association (A*PA). This is significant because of the strength of feeling expressed and the fact that the Association represents such a large proportion of the sector. Similar comment was received from specialist organisations within the general aviation sector. For reasons outlined in the body of the report, this review supports the government policy that BASI concentrate on the fare-paying passenger sector. It sees little wrong with the policy, but does question the focus placed on it by the Bureau, which is seen by the GA sector as having interpreted the policy of ‘concentrating on fare-paying passengers’ to bias the BASI contribution towards ‘excluding the general aviation sector’, where possible.

This is in spite of the fact that BASI does quite a significant amount of work investigating accidents/incidents in the GA sector. This would suggest that the industry does not see this work as making a significant contribution to aviation safety and reinforces the recommendations in this report regarding the need for BASI to adopt a more strategic approach to its accident/incident investigation role.

It is very important to recognise that general aviation operates in airspace used by the fare-paying sector. A significant number of the personnel in the fare-paying sector also come through the general aviation sector and attitudes and practices are often deeply enshrined in the performance of these persons as a result of their experience in the general aviation sector. It is probably too late to change these fundamental attributes when a person progresses to the fare-paying sector. The approach within BASI is largely influenced by the inability of the Bureau, while applying current practices, to allocate sufficient resources towards contributing to general aviation to an appropriate degree. It is interesting to note that the criticism regarding inadequate attention to the GA sector extended to the performance of CASA also.
While not suggesting a change to government policy, the review believes that more appropriate setting of priorities and improved work practices should enable a measured extent of BASI resources to be applied to the sectors other than fare-paying and an increase in outputs intended to improve safety in these sectors. It is also confident that adoption of a more proactive approach and more focussed monitoring of aviation safety statistics and associated information would ensure that adequate priority could be given to relevant areas of the general aviation sector in future. As a matter of principle BASI should aspire to optimal levels of trust and cooperation with the industry in total.

Although BASI does considerable work in the general aviation sector, this effort has not been recognised by that sector. BASI will not be able to achieve a satisfactory relationship without addressing the concerns of the general aviation sector in which there still remains a significant store of goodwill towards the Bureau.

The review recommends that BASI consider the creation of formal consultative mechanisms with the industry, while still retaining its necessary independence. It also makes a number of suggestions regarding improved strategic planning and accountability, which if adopted could assist in enhancing its industry relationships.

In summary, the review was able to confirm that the Bureau does receive widespread recognition and support from industry. There is a priority need, however, for a range of actions to build on this in the interest of providing a safer aviation system.