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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 391

(Question No. 227)

Senator Chipp asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 17 April 1985:

Will the Minister for Aviation advise when the safer Metro 3 and other smaller aircraft, which are currently in use in the United States, Germany and England, will be approved for use in Australia.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

At this time the Metro III aircraft is restricted to a maximum take-off-weight (MTOW) of 5,700 kg (which is approximately 12,500 lbs). Two broad categories of aircraft are recognised through international consensus. A maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 5,700 kg represents the dividing line between the `small' and `transport' categories. Different standards of design, maintenance, crewing and general operating conditions apply to aircraft in each of these categories with the more stringent requirements applying to transport aircraft types. The Metro III has been designed and built to standards applicable to small aircraft, i.e. MTOW below 5,700 kg.

The US regulatory authorities have permitted some aircraft types, including the Metro III, to operate at weights in excess of 12,500 lbs although they are designed only to the standards for `small' aircraft. This departure from internationally accepted practice is allowed by the US authorities only in the case of aircraft that are designed and produced before certain specified dates.

Other countries are considering whether they also will allow the operation of `overweight' aircraft, and under what conditions. Present indications are that countries such as the UK and Canada have imposed or will impose certain safety related requirements that are additional to the requirements set by the US authorities. At this time my Department believes that several countries besides USA may be operating Metro III aircraft of MTOW above 12,500 lbs with special conditions.

My Department's approach is similar to that the UK and Canadian authorities. Action is well advanced, in consultation with the aviation industry to introduce such a provision subject to certain safety related requirements being met.