• FlightOne CEO Lucas Tisdall will hit the road to talk with AOC holders all across Australia. (FlightOne)
    FlightOne CEO Lucas Tisdall will hit the road to talk with AOC holders all across Australia. (FlightOne)

– with Lucas Tisdall

The principal relationship that the majority of Australia’s 800-plus holders of an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) have with the federal government is through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. However, CASA’s principal role is as a safety regulator. It is not primarily chartered with the responsibility to grow and develop the economic welfare of industry. This is a contributing factor to the BITRE finding that “there are currently no robust economic datasets compiled for the General Aviation (GA) sector, restricting analysis of the impact of the various cost pressures facing GA or the contribution GA makes to the economy" (Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Economics, 2017).

This presents an amazing situation. In a nation as big as Australia, so reliant on air transport to support the very lifeblood of the outback, we don’t really know what makes GA tick. Yet, there are thousands of jobs involved and millions of dollars in equipment invested in by AOC holders and their partners let alone the economic contribution of private owners in support of activities Angel Flight and engagement with their refuellers, maintenance organisations and airports.

For some time, Flight One’s Managing Director and CEO, Lucas Tisdall, has looked on at the big disconnect with amazement. With a background in corporate finance and governance, the fragmented representation of the GA sector has long been a riddle that Tisdall has sought to unravel, rather than just live with. With that in mind, an association with the aviation and economics arm of the University of Southern Queensland was born.

Staring in February of 2019, Tisdall will visit around 150 AOC holders across the country. He will be looking to talk to small operators and large, in hangars, coffee shops (and if necessary, we are told, bars), about what would get them excited to invest in the future of our great industry. The study is looking to identify areas where there is significant agreement between operators, whether on a regional level or nationally.

Taking this feedback from his peers, Tisdall will use sophisticated language software to map the clusters of intent and identify the kinds of management decisions that are being made at the coalface of GA. Experienced aviation academics, Associate Professor Shane Zhang and Professor Paul Bates will be supporting the evaluation and presentation of the data locally and internationally.

The study will be the largest ever undertaken in the country, enabling a cohesive picture of what industry wants and needs to be presented at a ministerial and departmental level. Policy can then be crafted to support these efforts and delivered to industry in the language they understand and in an order that agrees with their collective priorities. Less regulatory reform, more affirmative support of growth.

AOC holders will be personally approached by Tisdall over the coming months to participate in the study with as little as 45 minutes in time commitment required to support the national enquiry.

If you would like to be among the first to shape findings, please engage with Lucas and his USQ team at lucas.tisdall@usq.edu.au

We look forward to bringing you updates from Tisdall's travels as he meets the people and visits the frontline of Australian general aviation.

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