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GRC Professional : GRC Summer 2012
IN DEPTH 14 GRC Professional • Summer 2012 Flight plan Risk and compliance officers can learn much from recent events that have brought Australia’s aviation industry to the top of the breaking news list, among them issues of competition, ethics and reputations put at risk. BY ALI KLAVER AIRLINES MUST TAKE REGULATORS seriously or risk losing their air operators certificates and potentially millions of dollars in revenue. Australia’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), suspended the air operator’s certificate of budget airline Tiger Airways in July due to safety concerns, including pilot training and efficiency; currency; revisions of operational manuals; and amendments to the airline’s safety management system. Limited to flying a maximum of 18 flights a day, Tiger had to demonstrate that it had complied with the necessary safety requirements before being permitted to resume full operations. This occured on 10 August, with CASA continuing to closely monitor the airline through surveillance and regular spot checks. Another organisation that pays close attention to safety is Airservices Australia, a government-owned company that provides air traffic operations as well as aviation rescue and fire fighting services. Phil Henderson, Manager, Compliance and Office of Legal Counsel for Airservices Australia, says the company is issued with ‘Provider Certificates’ from CASA and has to comply with the required safety standards, just like the airlines. “The distinction between regulator and service provider is a very important one, as it helps to define roles, responsibilities and accountabilities and gives clarity to the form of relationship,” Henderson says. “It is vital to aviation safety that the regulator has independence and objectivity.” This mentality is what has held Airservices in good stead since it was first formed in 1995, and is how its predecessor organisations (including the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department of Civil Aviation) contributed to Australia’s proud record of aviation safety in the international arena. Henderson says that Airservices, like the carriers and airports it serves, must have a foundation in compliance with legislation, regulations, standards and recommended practices. “Airservices has even renewed an exercise to map out what our actual legal and regulatory compliance obligations are, assign a singular accountable person to that obligation, and ensure that the related procedural documentation and actual practice are aligned with the obligation,” Henderson says. Fierce competition The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ensures compliance with the Commonwealth competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws. Applications for the aviation industry are just as enforceable, and particularly more so in its role of promoting the public interest in this sector. Tiger Airways retracted a statement made in August last year after close scrutiny from the ACCC. The statement, retracted Top 5 causes of air incidents. 1 Wildlife and birdstrikes: 9,094 incidents 2 Failure to comply with air traffic services instructions: 6,442 incidents 3 Mechanical systems: 3,152 incidents 4 Miscellaneous events: 2,508 incidents 5 Airframe events (an aircraft’smechanical structure): 2,348 incidents Source: Aviation Occurrence Statistics 2001 to 2010, from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
GRC Spring 2011
GRC Autumn 2012