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Notice given 18 July 2002

462  Senator Knowles: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Air Transport Safety Bureau Report 200103696 which cites two instances of cabin air contamination of the same aircraft, VH-NJA, on consecutive days and in both instances, the crew donned oxygen masks after being affected by contaminated air, and the cabin crew and passengers were affected by contaminated air:

(1) Why was the plane not immediately turned around when fumes were first detected.

(2) How are crew members who are wearing oxygen masks capable of identifying the source of the contamination.

(3) Is it not considered an emergency situation in which the aircraft should be landed as soon as possible; if not, what would happen if all crew members were seriously affected at the same time and unable to continue their duties.

(4) (a) How many flights were there between the two reported incidents; (b) why are the two incidents on the same report form; and (c) are they not two separate incidents.

(5) Given the documented illness of crew and passengers on the first flight: (a) why was there found to be no sign of oil contamination when initially inspected by the ground engineers; and (b) what was different between the engineering check after the first flight found ‘no signs of oil contamination or oil leaks,’ and the next inspection, which ‘revealed oil contamination in the number 3 engine’.

(6) Given that, on 6 September 1999, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau issued recommendation R19990052 to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) that stated in part, ‘These deficiencies should be examined by the regulatory authority as part of its responsibilities for initial certification and continued airworthiness of the BAe 146 aircraft’: Why then has CASA responded (more than 6 months later) that ‘CASA is satisfied that the BAe 146 aircraft in service in Australia are safe for public transport’.