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Whose flying the plane?

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Media Release SENATOR KERRY O’BRIEN SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT [2 AUGUST 2006] WHO’S FLYING THE PLANE? The Howard Government is failing to ensure that Australians have the first-rate aviation security system they deserve. The aviation photo identification system run by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority is failing all Australians. The Shadow Minister for Transport, Senator Kerry O’Brien identified a series of cases of failure recently brought to this attention: Case 1: The complete stranger A Melbourne pilot applied for a photo flight crew licence and identification number in 2005 and last week received the identification of a complete stranger. Ironically, the accompanying letter from CASA said: Photo licences have been introduced to provide a secure means of identifying flight crew. Case 2: Who’s that guy? A pilot was issued with an Aviation Security Identification Card - with his correct name and date of birth, but with photograph of someone else. Case 3: No lessons, no worries CASA issued a student pilot with a pilot’s licence before he had even had one flight lesson. Senator O'Brien said that during the May Senate Estimates hearings, senior management from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority stated: They have to prove their identity, and if they do not prove it they are not getting an ASIC - it is simple as that. "CASA didn’t tell us that you could get someone else’s ASIC or an ‘upgrade’ from student pilot to full pilot without a lesson," said Senator O'Brien.

Senator O'Brien expressed concern that the restructure being undertaken by CASA CEO Bruce Byron may be placing staff under a great deal of pressure, causing mistakes to happen.

Senator O'Brien noted the implementation of an enhanced photo identification regime was all about security. “A one off glitch in the system is concerning. A consistent trend of failure is deeply worrying,” Senator O’Brien said.

“Who’s flying the plane?” he said.

Contact: Kerry O’Brien 0419 007 780 David Tansey 0407 435 624