CASA has issued a warning to aircraft operators that they need an “Into and Out of Australia” Operational Specification to fly outside the 12-mile territorial limit. This applies to RPT, charter, airwork and flying training.
The warning from Certificate Management Team Leader Stuart Walters states:
"The 'Into and Out of Australia' Ops Spec pertains to operations by Australian registered aircraft departing from and arriving at airports within Australia and its Territories and involving flight offshore, outside Australian Territorial waters; that is, the "12 mile limit."
“It is understood, that not all operators need to apply for 'Into and Out of Australia,' depending on their operational requirements. However, operators are requested to consider the scope of their intended operations and make application accordingly …”
Apparently there no specific application form; operators need only write a letter and pay a fee of $480 to vary their Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to include the Ops Spec.
Where this is causing confusion within the charter industry is over Bass Strait. Flights to Tasmania and the strait islands are a lucrative market for Victorian charter operators, and large sections of the strait are outside Australia’s territorial limits.
Routes flown by King Island and Flinders Island, however, remain within the 12-mile limit, according to information on the Geoscience Australia website. Some charter operators say that CASA people have told them that the Ops Spec is still required to go via the islands, even though they don’t pass outside of Australian territory when they do so.