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Coober Pedy runway requirements – effect on community acknowledged

 CASA allow continued operations:

“…because any restrictions could cause social and economic disruption….”

No information has been divulged as to a “safety case” for the allowance, or is it because “nothing has gone wrong so far??

 Release

Coober Pedy runway requirementsCivil Aviation Safety Authority

4 Sep 2014 4:20 PM

CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY AUTHORITY

Coober Pedy runway requirements

CASA has been working closely with regional airline Rex and aircraft manufacturer SAAB to better ensure the ongoing safe operation of Rex flights at Coober Pedy.

However, aspects of the arrangements that have been in place for the Rex SAAB 340 flights at Coober Pedy do not provide for the appropriate continued management of safety on an 18 metre sealed runway with gravel edges.

An 18 metre sealed runway is classified by the International Civil Aviation Organization as a ‘narrow runway’.

CASA believes it is in the best interests of the travelling public to introduce new safety standards for all narrow runway operations across Australia, including Coober Pedy.

These arrangements will include an assessment of the capability of aeroplanes to conduct safe narrow runway operations.

Where an aeroplane type cannot safely use a narrow runway one option is to widen the runway surface.

The Coober Pedy Council Mayor has stated:

“The runway at Coober Pedy will be widened to a 30 metre homogenous surface and there are a number of dedicated people working to ensure this happens. Councils works department is ready to start work on the project and I have sought in principle support from the state minister for local government and regional development to undertake this work during the councils caretaker period.”

Given these assurances CASA will continue to permit Rex to operate the SAAB 340 to Coober Pedy while the runway widening work is carried out.

CASA expects the runway work will be completed as soon as possible in the interests of safety.

There will be no additional restrictions on Rex SAAB flights to Coober Pedy, although those conditions already in place to address known safety issues will continue.

It should be noted that leading aviation nations such as the United States, Europe and New Zealand do not allow narrow runway operations under the arrangements that have been in place in Australia.

However, CASA believes it is in the interests of the Coober Pedy community to allow these flights to continue in the short term because any restrictions could cause social and economic disruption.

Media contact:
Peter Gibson
Mobile: 0419 296 446
Email: peter.gibson@casa.gov.au
Ref: MR9714