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Union blames Civil Aviation Safety Authority procedures for near - collision: calls for parliamentary inquiry into CASA.

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Union Blames Civil Aviation Safty Authority Procedures For Near - Collision


Calls For Parliamentary Inquiry Into CASA


The CPSU (representing Flight Service Officers) blames CASA's continuation of unpopular and dangerous Class G Airspace trial for the recent near collision between a RAAF King Air and an Eastern Airline Jetstream 31 departing from Williamtown airport.


CPSU Aviation Councillor, Mr Steve Mahoney, said today "Air Traffic Services staff are angry that CASA is failing to address the real cause for this near tragedy by claiming that the expansion of radar services has improved safety. ATS staff know from firsthand experience that the cessation of services to regional airports has reduced aviation safety."


"It was just luck that the conflict occurred on the periphery of radar range. There is precious little radar coverage throughout regional Australia and absolutely none at any non-Tower regional airport. 60% of all aviation activity occurs outside radar airspace and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requires passenger carrying flights to be provided with a procedural collision avoidance information service where there is no radar coverage."


"Obfuscation and dissembling about radar cannot hide the fact that under the former procedures applicable to the trial airspace and those still applicable elsewhere in regional Australia the crews of both aircraft would have been provided with traffic information at the time that the passenger-carrying Jetstream commenced taxiing. This would have enabled both crews to communicate and maintain the required separation standards. It doesn't depend on luck!"


"CASA's introduction of an unmonitored National Advisory Frequency (NAF) and the removal of the minimum services required by ICAO in the trial airspace are the main contributing factors to this near tragedy. As incredible as it seems, CASA intends to continue with this trial and actually remove safety services throughout all Class G airspace. Virtually every regional airport in Australia and almost all airways routes under 20,000 feet will have flying safety jeopardised."


"CASA's new procedures are simply a hit or miss affair. It is making a mockery of its mandate to regulate for Civil Aviation Safety."


"The CPSU believes that there should be a parliamentary inquiry into the dangerous antics of CASA and Airservices Australia, its compliant partner in these plans."


"The Australian Parliament should investigate why Airservices Australia is offering to use its new $600 million TAAATS technology for the benefit of foreign countries and regions where no radar coverage exists; but together with CASA is devising procedures to ensure that safe high technology air traffic services are not provided to Australian flying operations beyond the limited radar coverage existing down the East coast (to 6,000 feet) and around the cities of Adelaide, Perth and Darwin"


"We believe that the parliamentary inquiry should probe the safety and community service obligation reductions that will result from Airservices Australia's recently announced commercial and business objectives. It should also investigate the links between CASA and Airservices Australia and the reasons why CASA is assisting with Airservices objectives by framing airspace procedures designed to ensure that TAAATS equipment is not used to provide safe aviation services to Australian tax-payers and fare paying passengers beyond radar coverage."


"The CPSU believes that the two organisations are setting back the clock for safe aviation transport services and confident steady regional development in Australia. CASA's recklessness requires immediate Parliamentary intervention"


For Comment:


Adrian O'Connell, TCA Section Secretary: (02) 9211 9292