The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has written to Senator Susan McDonald rejecting allegations of misfeasance on behalf of three senior managers.
Former flying school owner Glen Buckley made the allegations against then Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody, Executive Manager Legal and Regulatory Affairs Jonathon Aleck and Group Executive Manager – Aviation Graeme Crawford in a public hearing of the Senate Inquiry into the General Aviation Industry in November last year.
In a letter signed by Shane Carmody and dated 10 December last year, CASA said that Buckley's allegations were "unqualified" and reflected adversely on the integrity of the individuals named.
"CASA, and each of the individuals named, unqualifiedly reject and refute Mr Buckley's entirely unsubstantiated allegations of misfeasance," the letter says. "As said, an allegation of misfeasance is a very serious claim, which, by its nature, directly impugns the personal integrity and good faith of the individuals against whom such a egregious claim is made."
Carmody went on to say that CASA considered that Buckley "has offered absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any acts or omissions on the part of the individuals to substantiate his sweeping and indiscriminate claims."
Buckley was the owner of the Australian Pilot Training Alliance (APTA) until it was forced out of business in 2019. CASA had issued APTA with a Part 142 approval that permitted the group to add new member flying schools that would share common managment and safety systems under the one AOC.
After a change of Certificate Management Team at CASA, APTA was issued with the seven-day notice for infractions that were later shown to be incorrect statements. The seven-day notice was later amended to three months whilst CASA tried to determine if the model was legal or not. During that period, CASA stopped processing APTA requests, which plunged the company into finanical strife.
Buckley believes that CASA's actions were reverse engineered, which is to say that CASA worked out what they wanted first and worked backward to achieve the result, an accusation CASA has also denied.
"The implication of this statement is that ... CASA perverted the process of administrative law and justice in order to achieve a pre-determined inequitable outcome," CASA stated in the letter. "This is manifestly false ... and Mr Buckley has offered no evidence or information to support this contention.
"CASA unqualifiedly rejects and refutes Mr Buckley's entirely unsubstantiated statement."
CASA also moved to defend Southern Region Flight Operations Inspector Brad Lacy after Glen Buckely told the senate committee that Lacy "has a very bad reputation as being somewhat vindictive and vexatious." Lacy was a member of the team that issued the original seven-day notice.
"Whatever Mr Buckley's personal opinion might be, and certainly without intending to lend any credence whatsoever to that opinion, CASA maintains that it was manifestly unfair and incorrect to aver that Mr Lacy as a 'reputation' of the kind described in the 'Victoria-Tasmania region' or anywhere else," CASA has said.
"CASA, and Mr Lacy, unqualifiedly reject and refute Mr Buckley's false and misleading claim about Mr Lacy's integrity or his reputation."
Glen Buckley is believed to be assembling formal allegations including supporting evidence for further action against the three CASA managers, which is expected to be lodged with the senate committee in the first instance late next month or early April.