• Many professional pilots in Australia work in the general aviation industry. (Steve Hitchen)
    Many professional pilots in Australia work in the general aviation industry. (Steve Hitchen)

One of Australia's largest pilot unions, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP), has put itself forward for a seat on CASA's main advisory panel.

In its submission to the senate inquiry into the state of the GA industry posted this week, AFAP states that the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) would benefit from the input of a union.

"The ASAP has never had a representative on it from a member based association," the AFAP submission states. "Professional pilots are a unique group of aviation stakeholders in that the result of nearly all safety decisions flow through the aviation system to us.

"We, as an association of professional pilot representatives, are uniquely able to observe and collate where consistencies and deficiencies collect in the aviation system."

As the union representing commercial pilots operating largely within Australia, many within the GA industry, AFAP believes it is a logical addition to the panel.

"Other front line professionals may also be able to do the same; however, professional pilots, more so than others, receive the outcomes of these other groups, and are at the final point of control in the aviation decision making process.

"The AFAP is the key representative organisation for GA pilots and would be best placed to contribute to the ASAP.

"A consultative panel in the medical sector for example, similar in purpose to that of the ASAP, would not exclude doctors. Yet in aviation, the voice of professional pilots is not welcomed by CASA in the ASAP."

ASAP is currently made up of eight industry members plus two appointed from CASA. The industry members at the time of writing are:

  • Mr Stuart Aggs – COO Virgin Australia
  • Mr Mark Awad – CEO Australian Warbirds Association Ltd
  • Dr Reece Clothier – President, Australian Association for Unmanned Systems
  • Capt Ray Cronin – President, Australian Helicopter Industry Association
  • Ms Adrianne Fleming – Head of Operations, Tristar Aviation
  • Mr John Gissing – Group Executive, Qantas Group
  • Mr Malcolm Sharp – Managing Director, Sharp Airlines
  • Mr Mark Thompson – Technical Training Manager, Aviation Australia

ASAP members change regularly, with The Australian Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF), Recreational Aviation Australian (RAAus), the Australian Airports Association (AAA), and the Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) all serving on the panel at one stage or another.

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