The representative body of regular public transport pilots is likely to object to Airservices Australia's proposal to introduce Class E airspace over Class D towered airports.
This week, the Australian Airline Pilots Association (AusALPA) distributed an e-mail to various aviation groups stating that they were surprised that Airservices' reintroduced the concept to the Airspace Moderisation Program despite strenuous objections forwarded nearly a year ago.
In May 2018, AusALPA sent a submission to Airservices Australia responding to the proposal to trial Class E over D at Hobart and Launceston airports. In the submission, AusALPA stated that the changes would degrade rather than enhance safety.
"AusALPA ... views the proposal as a degradation of the airspace rather than an enhancement," the submission said. "We also question what problem this redesign of the airspace is aimed at solving, since we are unable to identify any safety or operational benefits for our members.
"Consequently, AusALPA considers that there is no justification for the airspace reclassification for trial purposes or otherwise."
In Class E airspace, IFR flights require an airways clearance, but VFR pilots do not, which means RPT flights into Class D towers need to rely on the see-and-avoid method of self-separation until they reach the Class D boundary. Currently, the airspace over Class D is Class C, which gives IFR flights protection all the way to the ground.
"The approach and departure phases of flight are relatively high workload phases of flight," AusALPA told Airservices last year. "Class E airspace increases the need to utilise ‘see and avoid’ measures when compared to that of Class C or D airspace.
"This is particularly problematic on descent where small aircraft can be almost impossible to visually detect due an array of ground clutter masking the ability to sight an aircraft."
It is believed that AusALPA will meet to form another response to the Airspace Modernisation Program that will closely reflect the feedback they provided last year.
Feedback to the Airspace Modernisation Program can be submitted on the Airservices Australia website.