Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus), the peak body that administers recreational flying, has mounted a strong argument against the Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC).
In their submission to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR), RA-Aus claims the ASIC is a cost impost on their members for no gain whatsoever.
"RA-Aus ... questions the efficacy of Airport Security Identification Cards on both aviation safety and aviation security," the submission puts forward.
"Much of the flying done by recreational pilots is done from smaller airports across regional Australia and in many instances from private fields. This is especially so for RA-Aus. Despite this the requirement to hold an ASIC still exists for most pilots since a security controlled airfield may be the only location from which to obtain fuel, professional maintenance services, flying instruction, etc., adding a significant cost to the industry.
"For RA-Aus members alone the cost is in excess of $0.8 million per year. If these costs were redirected to training, education or other activities the safety implications would be much greater.
"It may be argued that the requirement for ASICs has contributed to Australia not having been the subject of such attacks that took place in the US in 2001. That argument may have some validity at major airports such as Mascot, Tullamarine, Brisbane, etcetera; however, recreational pilots rarely operate from those locations thus imposing a cost with no benefits whatsoever.
"Extending the requirement for ASICs to every airfield in Australia that has scheduled passenger flights imposes a significant additional cost, not only on pilots, but also on airfield operators who must provide and maintain extensive security infrastructure at airfields that in some cases might see less than a dozen aircraft movements per week.
"Further deficiencies in the ASIC system include anecdotal evidence of high levels of non-compliance, and enforcement that appears to be entirely absent at regional and remote airfields. These factors, combined with the dubious assumption that a criminal history check can provide any indication of a propensity to commit a crime or a terrorist act using an aircraft, result in an ASIC system that provides a perception of increased safety and security without actually delivering any real benefit.
"At the same time the costs of this perceived safety improvement are borne by industry, law abiding pilots and passengers and even the general public through their tax contributions."
The RA-Aus submission echoes the position held by many operators and pilots within general aviation. However, the ASIC is controlled not by CASA, but by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport and is therefore subject to significant political input.
Other issued canvased in the RA-Aus submission include:
- Constraints on RA-Aus ability to properly investigate accidents
- Costs forcing some participants to operate outside the regulations
- Concerns that CASA is transiting from a safety organisation to a compliance organisation.
RA-Aus members can view the entire submission in the members portal area of the RA-Aus website.