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Posts from various Sources and Blogs:

We will list here some relevant pprune postings [and others] for your reading. Many of these relate to specific areas of concern to the Australian aviation industry. It includes comments made elsewhere and we take no responsibility for accuracy or have checked them for veracity.

Old 22nd Apr 2013, 06:53   #1542 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Great Southern Land
Posts: 48
Wikileaks: Australia nearly lost its air safety rating.

The Links should still work. This is a copied version of the original, from filed data. Not guaranteed 100% accurate.P4 a.k.a. the Ferret.

August 31, 2011 – 6:43 am, by Ben SandilandsA Wikileaks cable shows that by late 2009 air safety regulation in Australia was so deficient that the country risked being downgraded to third world status, and that this would have compelled the US authorities to terminate the Qantas code share with American Airlines and disallow new services between Australia and the US by V Australia.

The cable was posted on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network by user ‘Sunfish’ earlier this morning and was sent by the US Embassy in Canberra to various parties in the US Government and its aviation safety administration on December 7, 2009.

It was sent soon after an audit by a US Federal Aviation Administration team of CASA between November 30 and December 4, 2009, to determine if Australia met the standards required to remain a top tier state under the rules of the UN body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation or ICAO. CASA failed to satisfy that preliminary audit.

The FAA team had arrived in Canberra late in November 2009 to follow up on earlier adverse findings by ICAO inspectors, which had been reported in May 2009 in Plane Talking, here and here.

The cable details a scenario in which an Australian air safety administration downgrade could have been subsequently confirmed by the end of February last year and officially published by the FAA in mid March.

This was however averted by what Plane Talking understands to have been diplomatic pressure in Washington DC and a sharp rise in funding for CASA under its new director of air safety John McCormick stapled to an extensive set of commitments to remedial actions which CASA continues to work on meeting and sustaining.

CASA is in the midst of unprecedented regulatory reform and is clearly working to very tough deadlines to fix what is not widely acknowledged to have been decades of incompetence and neglect but which were bad enough for the FAA downgrade to be described in the cable as a worst case scenario that could have been confirmed publicly by the US regulator as early as March of last year.

Since this close call CASA has demonstrated its toughness by suspending Tiger Airways flights in July and early August of this year and is been reported here as having threatened other larger Australian carriers with the issuance of a show cause notice against their air operator certificates unless they promptly respond to and comply with any of its concerns as or when they arise.

Under US laws, American airlines are not allowed to put their booking codes over services flown by the airlines of countries with inadequate or ineffective administration of air transport safety standards. Nor are the airlines of such countries allowed to fly new services to the US, and those that were already being flown would come under enhanced surveillance and safety compliance checking by FAA inspectors.

The consequences for both Qantas and Virgin Blue subsidiary V Australia of such a downgrade of Australian air safety standards from Level 1 to Level 2 early in 2010 as indicated in the leaked cable would have been commercially disastrous.

The FAA audit that Australia initially failed to satisfy came after decades in which the Australian policy setting had been to trust the major carriers to do the right thing, and to devote disproportionate CASA resources to prosecuting breaches by general aviation and third tier regional operations.

However even there CASA had been a failure, as demonstrated by its determined unwillingness to impose safety compliance on the known yet tolerated dangerous operations of Transair before one of its flights crashed on approach to the Lockhart River strip in far northern Queensland in 2005, killing all 15 people on board.

That accident, a rising sense of unease over serious Qantas and Jetstar incidents, and the FAA process that followed up and confirmed the ICAO findings, had all set up CASA for serious change by the time the 2010 Federal Budget threw long overdue additional funding at the safety regulator.

In May 2009, after being leaked the ICAO findings that lead to the FAA actions, Plane Talking reported:

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit of safety oversight in Australia isn’t a pretty read.

There are a number of findings about the regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the incident and accident investigator, and AirServices Australia, that reflect poorly on their performance, and therefore on their governmental and managerial oversight.

… for close on ten years prior to this (ICAO) audit the safety leadership and diligence of Australia in terms of air safety standards was a myth, and more the result of luck than rigor.

With luck, and hard work, the luck referred to will not run out before the CASA reforms are completed.

The FAA/ICAO audit and response was provided earlier in the thread, for those who missed it:- Audit report – is available from Zippy. As previously stated, be careful when quoting or relying on the data. It is strictly our ‘for reference only’ copy.

“Download Now” button only – usual precautions.

Last edited by PAIN_NET; 22nd Apr 2013 at 08:02. Reason: PpruNe technology.

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Old 22nd Apr 2013, 10:58   #1543 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 4,916
If the FAA take another look, it will be the”memorandums of Understanding” with the ATSB and Airservices that will cause our downgrade. In my opinion anyway.
Old 22nd Apr 2013, 17:43   #1546 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: West of SY OZ
Posts: 19
casa and the atsb – No one driving!

Just to remind us:

US FAA to conduct review of Austalia’s air safety systems.AIRLINE INDUSTRY INFORMATION-(C)1997-2009 M2 COMMUNICATIONS

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced today that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has accepted an invitation to conduct a review of Australia’s air safety systems.

The FAA will visit Australia to conduct the review in the week starting 30 November 2009 and will look at all aspects of the country’s aviation safety regulation and safety oversight framework.

This visit, which will address Australia’s compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices, comprises part of the US’ routine international audit programme of all countries whose airlines fly into US airspace.

BUT this resulted in around 100 individual NCN’s [Non-compliance Notices], which are still not fully cleared, with no proper feed-back to the industry.

In an Age article on August 31st 2011 by Dylan Welsh, in part said:

The US was so concerned about the state of Australia’s air safety system in 2009 that it considered downgrading Australian airlines flying to the US.
The revelation, in a US State Department cable released this week by WikiLeaks, discussed a safety inspection by the US’s Federal Aviation Authority, which audits countries whose carriers fly to the United States to ensure they meet appropriate safety standards.

A downgrade to Category 2 would be the worst-case scenario, which would entail measures such as freezing Australia-US flight operations to current levels and terminating code-sharing arrangements.

In the cable, written in December 2009, it is revealed the FAA told Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) that Australia could face a downgrade to “Category 2” due to a shortage of properly trained safety inspectors and too much delegation of CASA’s regulatory function to carriers.
A Category 2 rating suggests that FAA believes the country’s safety regime does not meet international standards. It is a category mainly used for countries in the developing world.
“A downgrade to Category 2 would be the worst-case scenario, which would entail measures such as freezing Australia-US flight operations to current levels and terminating code-sharing arrangements, such as the one between Qantas and American Airlines,” the cable stated.
“CASA officials are not taking this possibility lightly and seem committed to resolve the shortcomings in order to avoid a downgrade.”
The findings resulted from a five-day safety audit by FAA officers in late 2009, which found
“significant shortcomings” in CASA’s maintenance of the Australian aviation regulatory system.
CASA has been criticised for delegating too much of its regulatory obligations to the flight carriers in the past, and the FAA audit may well have been the last straw.
In the 2010 budget, the government announced a large funding increase for CASA, which some commentators believe was following a rising sense of unease about recent safety incidents involving Qantas and Jetstar.
The FAA audit may also help explain why CASA was so severe when cracking down on Tiger earlier this year.

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