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CASA fast-tracks emergency approvals for general aviation operators.

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Media Release

John Anderson

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Transport and Regional Services

Leader of the National Party


14th January2000



CASA Fast-Tracks Emergency Approvals for General Aviation



The Civil Aviation Safety Autho rity will give priority to regulatory approvals for aviation companies affected by aviation gasoline contamination, the Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.


In addition, CASA will not charge operators for regulatory approvals that they need as a result of avgas contamination to keep their businesses going.


Mr Anderson said: “Aviation companies are heavily regulated by CASA for safety reasons. For example, they require approval to add different aircraft to their fleets, even if they are the same model as planes they already operate. An increasing number of operators affected by avgas contamination are seeking approval to transfer aircraft, as they rationalise their operations.


“CASA will give these companies priority so they can obtain quickly the approvals they need to stay in business. However, it will not reduce safety standards and will not cut corners.


“The approvals will be free, which will save companies hundreds of dollars in charges. For example, it would normally cost a regular passenger transport operator at least $300 for clearance to add a new aircraft to its operating certificate.


“CASA will also offer extended payment times for operators affected by avgas contamination, on a similar basis to Airservices Australia and the Commonwealth run airports.


“It will extend the due date for accounts for affected operators received in January, February, and March to 30 April 2000. April invoices will be dealt with on normal terms. CASA will not charge interest on the outstanding accounts.


“CASA and Mobil engineers are continuing to work around the clock to develop a field test that can reliably determine whether an aircraft’s fuel system is contaminated.


“We can identify contaminated fuel un der laboratory conditions, but we need to develop a field test that can be carried out by maintenance staff using readily available equipment. The test must be reliable because it could be disastrous if a contaminated aircraft was allowed into the air if it was wrongly thought to be safe. As a result, CASA is arranging for the test to be validated independently.


The Government and its agencies have taken the following steps this week to deal with the fuel contamination crisis:


  • CASA has grounded all of the aircraft that could have been filled with contaminated fuel. It was not always a simple process — CASA and Mobil patiently hunted down every drum of contaminated fuel released from the Altona refinery.


  • CASA and Mobil engineers are working around the cloc k to develop a field test that can determine whether an aircraft’s fuel system is contaminated.


  • CASA has started work with aircraft and engine manufacturers to develop a safe way of cleaning aircraft fuel systems the essential next step after a test is developed.


  • The Government has pressed Mobil to provide financial assistance to the aviation companies affected by fuel contamination.


·  The Government is contacting the banks and other financial institutions and urged them to show flexibility and fairness in their dealings with their aviation customers. The Commonwealth Bank has already taken up the Government s proposal with a comprehensive special emergency assistance program for its customers.


·  The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has commenced a full and independent inquiry into the contamination.


·  Airservices Australia, the Government agency responsible for air traffic control services, has decided to extend the due date for avgas aircraft accounts received in January, February and March until the end of April. Airservices will not charge interest on the outstanding accounts.


·  The Commonwealth run airports (Sydney Airport, Bankstown, Camden, Hoxton Park, and Essendon) will extend their payment deadlines on a similar basis for operators with financial difficulties. The Government is contacting the private and local authority airports and asking them to adopt similar billing policies.


·  The Government is continuing to work closely and productively with industry bodies such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Australian Airports Association.



Media Contact:

Paul Chamberlain; (02) 6277 7680; 0419 233 989



md 2000-01-18  10:02