Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack announced yesterday that CASA had completed and published the Flight Operations Suite of regulations.
Known within CASA as the "six-pack", the regulations cover most flight operations in powered aircraft, and are considered by the regulator to be the rules that underpin most flying operations.
The six regulations are:
- CASR 91 – General Operating and Flight Rules
- CASR 119 – Certification and Management of Air Operators' Certificates
- CASR 121 – Air Transport Operations - Large Aircraft
- CASR 133 – Air Transport Operations - Rotorcraft
- CASR 135 – Air Transport Operations - Small Aircraft
- CASR 138 – Airwork Operations
“These new rules have been developed in close consultation with our aviation industry, which is recognised as one of the safest in the world but we can always do better and we must,” McCormack said.
“Where appropriate, the regulations are outcomes-based rather than prescriptive, allowing pilots, owners and operators to make appropriate decisions for their operations to achieve required safety outcomes.
"This is really important regulatory reform. We do everything we can to improve efficiencies at the same time as maintaining air safety standards that are second to none in the world. As a government, we've been looking at what we can do in the regulatory space, as the same time, obviously, we want to always improve business opportunities in the aviation sector, whilst at the same time maintaining the safety standards which the general public and the industry has come to expect."
CASA CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody said completing the suite required a lot of hard work and commitment from many people in both CASA and the aviation community.
“I thank everyone who contributed to these rule sets," he said. "It is testament to our new consultative processes that we were able to ensure feedback from subject matter experts and people across aviation was received, carefully considered and incorporated as required in a timely and professional manner."
Speaking with Australian Flying, Carmody said that getting the Flight Operations Suite completed was challenging.
"When I started in this job about 18 months ago we had 10 regs to be done," he said. "They've been lingering for awhile and there's a range of reasons, but at the end of the day consultation processes and a range of complicated to-ing and fro-ing; I made up my mind that we'd get them done because we had to get them done. They'd been hanging around for nearly 20 years.
"We did CASR 149 [self-administration] and then with support from the minister we looked really hard at the operational regs–the "six pack"–and that was the big challenge, a really hard challenge to get them done and they are the ones that we have to drive this year.
"Without getting those done we didn't think we could make any progress and we couldn't really do them individually, we really needed to consult them and drive them as a pack, which is what we did."
The new regulations won't come into force until March 2021, which Carmody says will give CASA time to work on the details of implementation.
"The critical factor for us over the next two years is the implementation and how you actually apply the regulations," he explained.
"There's a lot of discussion to be undertaken as we work our way through this. As is the case with all of these regs perfect is the enemy of the good. You can't get everything right. That's why we've spent 20 years trying to get everything right, dot every 'i' and cross every 't' and it's just not possible.
"So we got the regs agreed and those people who were involved are out of each of those sectors, and then we said we'll go through transition and implementation over the next couple of years. We've got plenty of time to work the detail."
The six regulations were consulted through the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) and the network of technical working groups that disected the proposed regulations. Under Chairman Pat Murray, the panel, which consists of representatives of several aviation sectors, was determined to learn from the way CASA handled the flight training suite and not make the same errors with flight operations.
"The level of industry consultation on Part 61 and 141/142 could have been better," Murray said. "That's generally acknowledged, and I think it's fair to say that it was a driver of why Shane [Carmody] formed the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel and the technical working groups to put in place a much better, more robust consultation mechanism, so that future regs wouldn't effectively suffer the same way."
The Deputy PM said he had faith in CASA and was satisfied that the consultation mechanism was sound.
"Nothing this difficult ever comes easy, but this is 20 years plus in culmination and we can actually see the end in sight. I know when I sat down to sign the regulations, it took quite some time; a lot of time reading, a lot of time signing.
"More than that, there was a lot of consultation put in and I've got every faith that people have worked on this with the right spirit and with the aim of improving the aviation industry and I think they've achieved something."