• Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore has been charged with changing the culture at CASA. (Composite image CASA/Bidgee)
    Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore has been charged with changing the culture at CASA. (Composite image CASA/Bidgee)

Civil Aviation Safety Authority Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore has asked the aviation industry to be patient with the pace of change within the regulator.

Skidmore made the call in his April CASA Briefing Newsletter released today.

"Change is happening at CASA," Skidmore reinforces. "The pace of change may not be as fast as some would prefer, but real change is underway. Like any worthwhile task everything cannot be achieved at once and foundations must be laid before the structure can be constructed.

"This month I outlined the progress CASA is making in building a new and improved organisation to meet the safety regulatory needs of the aviation community and the Australian public."

Skidmore addressed a CHC Helicopters Safety and Quality Summit in Vancouver, Canada, on 4 April, where he told the assembly of efforts made to push change through at CASA. He summarised the main points in his newsletter.

"One of the keys to successful change is getting CASA’s people to understand they are one part of a much larger aviation safety system," Skidmore says. "We do not hold all the knowledge and we need to form safety partnerships across industry, agencies, regulators and the global aviation community.

"There must be an environment where we can all work together to enhance the safety of the aviation environment we enjoy today. Our aim is to keep people flying and flying safely."

Skidmore links the move to "just culture" within CASA as an important part of achieving a larger aviation safety system, one where honest mistakes are not punished, but analysed to understand why they were made.

"A lot of work is underway to implement a ‘just culture’ approach in CASA," he said. "We are developing a regulatory and operational environment where genuinely honest mistakes are recognised for what they are and are used as an opportunity for further learning and improvement.

"CASA’s response will be to understand why the mistakes were made and how we can reduce the likelihood the same mistakes will occur in the future. I consider this approach as a fundamental shift from our recent past and we need to recognise a cultural change in both CASA and the aviation community is required to harvest the real benefits of this concept.

"This is a challenge for us but we are working hard to meet the challenge."

In November 2015, CASA announced a new structure that would incorporate three organisational groups: Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability and Aviation. Department heads have been appointed to all but the Aviation group; an announcement is expected sometime before July 2016.

The April CASA Briefing Newsletter is available on the CASA website.

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