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External engagement

Effectively consulting and communicating with the aviation industry and the wider aviation community, in Australia and overseas, are key elements of CASA’s corporate goals and responsibilities under the Civil Aviation Act 1988.

Community engagement

Under section 9(2)(b) of the Civil Aviation Act 1988, CASA is required to promote ‘full and effective consultation and communication with all interested parties on aviation safety issues’. CASA achieves this through information provision and a range of forums and day-to-day dealings with people and organisations in the wider aviation community, including formal meetings, working groups and consultation committees.

Online feedback and consultation

CASA engages with the aviation community online through Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. Facebook continues to be the dominant social media channel in terms of audience size and engagement.

During 2019–20, CASA’s Facebook following increased by 3,385 followers to reach 48,767 followers on 30 June 2020. However, LinkedIn experienced the highest growth, with the number of followers increasing by 15,976 to 33,139. Twitter followers increased to 13,121. CASA’s YouTube channel experienced 29 per cent growth, with an increase of 1,346 subscribers to 5,927 subscribers. In total, the CASA social media channels experienced a combined audience growth of 31 per cent.

The top post during 2019–20 related to asking drone operators not to fly their drones in or near bushfires. The post reached 642,895 people on Facebook with 51,610 engagements and 9,617 reactions, comment and shares. It was also the top Twitter tweet, with 45,422 impressions and 1,187 total engagements.

In December 2019, CASA launched a new Facebook page: a dedicated source of information for people who fly drones for fun. It was part of the broader Know Your Drone campaign which was developed for new and emerging recreational drone flyers. The content focused on safety, with an emphasis on education and improving operators’ capabilities, rather than enforcement and penalties. Since it launched, the page has garnered more than 5,160 followers and 4,765 likes. Paid and organic content achieved more than 694,362 engagements, 33.5 million impressions (33.0 million paid and 468,932 organic) and 4.6 million video views (4.5 million paid and 53,051 organic).

Drone-related content across the CASA website allows users to rate the helpfulness of the information provided, using a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ rating. Throughout 2019–20, 796 ratings were received and 79 per cent of respondents said the information was helpful.

The CASA Consultation Hub, established in 2017, supported 48 consultations and feedback surveys during 2019–20, with a total of 4,776 responses. The hub also functioned as a key communication channel, attracting 247,675 unique visitors during the year.

A feedback survey on CASA’s flagship aviation safety magazine, Flight Safety Australia, opened on 24 June 2020 and attracted 783 responses by 30 June 2020. The survey invited feedback on the online and print editions of the magazine. Results will be analysed after the survey closes on 12 July 2020.

A feedback survey on the myCASA portal received 490 responses, the second-highest number of responses of all surveys conducted through the hub in 2019–20, followed by consultation on the maximum take-off weight increase for aeroplanes managed by an approved self-administering aviation organisation, which received 408 responses.

Magazine

Flight Safety Australia, CASA’s flagship publication, is a highly regarded source of credible and informative coverage of aviation safety.

The print edition of Flight Safety Australia was discontinued in 2013–14 when the magazine was relaunched online. In 2019–20, Flight Safety Australia returned to print, with more than 2,500 readers subscribing in the first year. The move came after respondents to a 2018 feedback survey said they really wanted the print edition to return and were prepared to pay a subscription fee to have it delivered.

The print magazine has 64 pages inclusive of features, news, in-depth analysis and photography, on a wide range of topics by expert contributors from the aviation community.

Feature stories in 2019–20 were a mix of wide-ranging ‘big picture’ safety topics, practical guidance for general aviation and recreational pilots, reviews of technological developments, and re-examinations of historic accidents through the lens of modern safety thinking.

A new ‘crash comic’ segment told the popular close call stories submitted by readers in a new way – as a comic book style picture narrative.

Other articles covered issues such as drone safety, cabin safety, ground handling, maintenance, runway incursions, animal strike management, use of virtual reality in training, and helicopter flight dynamics.

The online edition also includes topical news and unique digital-only content, including safety videos and audio recordings of ‘close calls’. Readers can engage with peers from the aviation community by liking, sharing or commenting on the articles at flightsafetyaustralia.com.
During 2019–20, the online edition experienced 247,675 unique visitors and 439,546 unique page views, with 3,143 readers subscribing to receive alerts each time new content is published.

CASA’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages continued to be highly effective in promoting the magazine’s comprehensive aviation safety coverage.

E-newsletter

Each month, CASA produces an e-newsletter, The CASA Briefing, which is distributed to more than 11,000 subscribers. Most subscribers are people working in the aviation industry, while others have a general interest in aviation.

Subjects covered in 2019–20 included CASA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the completion of the flight operations regulations, consultation on key initiatives such as the weight increase for recreational aviation, improvements in online services, and finalisation of the new fatigue rules.

In addition, a monthly Know Your Drone e-newsletter was distributed to more than 25,000 recipients, including more than 15,000 drone operators.
It is estimated that the e-newsletter has generated more than 50,000 visits to drone-related content on the CASA website since it commenced in
December 2019.

CASA also communicated widely with the aviation community and general public through 351 targeted bulk emails during the year.

Webinars and seminars

Our team of Aviation Safety Advisors delivered 163 face-to-face aviation safety seminars and 546 on-site visits around Australia, reaching more than 5,134 industry members. Unfortunately, a further 49 seminars were deferred or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2019–20 seminars explored the theme of Enhancing pilot skills – Expect the unexpected, covering three key safety topics: pre-flight planning; aeronautical decision-making; and use of checklists. Its content tied in with an ATSB campaign to promote the use of checklists.

Following the release of an ATSB investigation report into the in-flight breakup of a Cessna 210 in Darwin in 2017, CASA held two Flying in the wet season aviation safety seminars in Darwin and Cairns.

The seminars were delivered jointly by CASA presenters and the ATSB investigator in charge of the investigation. They covered many of the unique hazards and risks that need to be managed by pilots flying in northern Australia during the wet season. The seminars attracted significant interest, with 135 pilots and operators attending in Darwin and 35 in Cairns.

A condensed version of the Enhancing pilot skills in a dynamic environment seminar was broadcast on YouTube and uploaded to LinkedIn to extend its audience reach. The recording of the broadcast has been watched more than 1,053 times on YouTube and achieved 2,456 impressions on LinkedIn.

In December 2019, CASA hosted a live, interactive webinar for industry and software developers interested in applying to connect to the remotely piloted aircraft systems digital platform, which was developed and introduced by CASA. Software developers can use data provided by the digital platform to create third-party mobile and web-based apps, to help show drone operators where it is safe and legal to fly a drone in Australia. The webinar had 89 registered participants from Australia and overseas, with 40 attending the live 60-minute broadcast and question and answer session, where 39 questions were answered by the host. A further 30 participants viewed the recorded session on demand following the live broadcast. As a result, three new drone safety apps were released in March 2020.

Roadshows

During 2019–20, CASA hosted two national roadshows as a key communication tactic, to support:

  • the proposed policy for continuing airworthiness management and maintenance for future air transport operations
  • the aviation community’s transition to the new fatigue rules.

On 2–17 December 2019, seven two-hour information sessions were delivered to 240 individuals representing Civil Aviation Regulations Regulation 30 organisations, Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) Part 145 approved maintenance organisations, and charter operators. It was an opportunity for air operators and maintenance organisations to hear firsthand the details of the proposed policy changes prior to the opening of the public consultation.

The information sessions were held in Darwin, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney.

On 10–19 March 2020, six two-hour information sessions were delivered to support the aviation community’s transition to the new fatigue rules.

Approximately 220 industry members registered for the six information sessions, with 168 individuals attending, representing a mix of sectors including regular public transport, charter, flight training, aerial work, mustering, medical air transport, hot air balloons, defence support, parks and wildlife services, scenic tours and freight operations.

The information sessions were held in Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. Travel restrictions related to COVID-19 prevented the final two information sessions, planned for Melbourne and Hobart, from taking place. To ensure that registered participants from the cancelled sessions were not disadvantaged, a summary of the information session was developed and made available on the CASA website.

Industry engagement

CASA’s ability to develop and enforce appropriate safety standards relies on effective engagement with the aviation industry. CASA participates in consultative forums and supports specialist expert panels to facilitate industry engagement.

All proposed regulatory changes and related consultation documents for 2019–20 were published on CASA’s website and can be accessed at
casa.gov.au/newrules.

Aviation Safety Advisory Panel

The Aviation Safety Advisory Panel is the primary advisory body through which CASA directs its engagement with industry and seeks input on current and future regulatory and associated policy approaches. Its work is supported by technical working groups.

In February 2020, two new members, Mr Mark Thompson, Technical Training Manager at Aviation Australia, and Mr Stuart Aggs, Chief Operations Officer at Virgin Australia, joined the panel, bringing a wealth of experience in high-capacity air transport operations, and maintenance and engineering.

Two people attended their final meeting on 11 June 2020: Mr Jim Davis, Chair of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, and Mr Michael Monck, Chair of Recreational Aviation Australia. As inaugural members of the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel, they were integral to the success of the panel by providing high-level and objective advice drawing on their many years of valuable experience in the aviation industry.

The independent Chair, Honorary Professor Patrick Murray, industry members Mr John Gissing, Dr Reece Clothier, Ms Adrianne Fleming OAM and Captain Ray Cronin, and CASA representatives Mr Graeme Crawford and Mr Rob Walker continue to serve on the panel.

Regional airspace and procedures advisory committees

Regional airspace and procedures advisory committees are primarily state-based forums for the discussion of matters relating to airspace and related procedures in Australia. They are coordinated and facilitated by CASA.

In February 2020, these state-based forums transitioned to an online platform via new consultative website, avsef.gov.au. The website meets the previous objectives of these meetings, supporting the communication and publication of information and proposals relating to airspace, procedures and other regional and national matters, while creating an automated, cost-effective repository for papers and consultations.

The website was initially intended to be trialled as part of an evolution of the forums. As a result of restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the website is now being used to support all regional consultation matters.

Australian Strategic Air Traffic Management Group

The Australian Strategic Air Traffic Management Group (ASTRA) is a key industry advisory body on strategic airspace and air traffic management issues for Australia. As such, it is an important source of industry advice to government on air traffic management issues.

ASTRA brings together industry stakeholders, including aircraft operators, airports and service providers, to provide an industry-wide representative forum that:

  • develops the industry position on air traffic management matters, including communications, navigation and surveillance, as the basis for strategic advice to government
  • coordinates agreed integrated air traffic management planning, development and implementation efforts by all relevant stakeholders.

CASA has a standing invitation to attend meetings of the ASTRA Council, as a permanent observer, and attended two meetings in 2019–20 (some scheduled meetings were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Intragovernmental engagement

Cooperation between Australian Government agencies that have an interest in the aviation sector helps to reduce the duplication and fragmentation of government policies, regulations and services. CASA works with other government agencies to facilitate cooperation.

Aviation Policy Group

The Aviation Policy Group is a high-level interagency group that consists of the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, CASA’s Chief Executive Officer/Director of Aviation Safety, the Chief Executive Officer of Airservices Australia, and the Chief of Air Force.

Although the group is not a decision-making body, it provides a forum for effective interagency policy coordination and for working through air traffic management and other aviation issues at a strategic level.

The Aviation Policy Group met three times during 2019–20, including one meeting held via teleconference as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. A fourth meeting was cancelled.

Aviation Implementation Group

The Aviation Implementation Group is an interagency forum chaired by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications that involves representation from CASA, Airservices Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force.

The Aviation Implementation Group is an important forum for identifying cross-agency aviation issues and maintaining regular communication between the four agencies. It supports the Aviation Policy Group in implementing cross-agency strategies.

The group met four times during 2019–20, including one meeting held via teleconference as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau

The relationship between CASA and the ATSB is governed, in part, by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was first signed in February 2010 and updated and re-signed on
30 March 2015.

The agreement focuses on making the most effective and appropriate use of the findings of accident investigations and clarifying the different but complementary roles of CASA and the ATSB in maintaining and improving air safety. It also provides a framework for cooperation between CASA and the ATSB on aviation safety education, research, and data analysis.

The agreement covers issues such as the roles of CASA and the ATSB in accident investigations, assistance during investigations, Australia’s State Safety Program and the exchange of safety information and safety education.

CASA’s ATSB Liaison Office acts as a conduit between CASA and the ATSB to ensure that accident and incident report findings, safety issues and recommendations are appropriately considered and responded to by CASA in accordance with agreed working arrangements, the ATSB–CASA MOU and the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

CASA and the ATSB formally meet twice each calendar year to exchange views and liaise about safety issues of mutual interest at the operational level. The agencies also cooperate on important research projects that improve the understanding of, and response to, issues that affect flight safety in Australia.

International engagement

CASA is a well-respected civil aviation safety regulator, regionally and globally. Engagement with the global aviation community, including with foreign regulatory counterparts, is an important part of CASA’s role and responsibilities under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 to influence aviation safety standards, advocate for rules that benefit Australian travellers and Australian industry, and respond in a timely manner to emerging opportunities and trends.

CASA’s international commitments are threefold:

  • engaging with ICAO, primarily through a tripartite policy approach in partnership with Airservices Australia and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
  • establishing, reviewing and improving on bilateral and multilateral arrangements with counterpart regulatory agencies and countries to streamline industry standards and requirements
  • strengthening aviation safety in the Asia-Pacific region.

International Civil Aviation Organization

Australia is one of 193 signatory States to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), which provides for the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation. The Chicago Convention established ICAO, which is a specialised agency of the United Nations with responsibility for creating Standards and Recommended Practices for civil aviation.

ICAO operates through the ICAO Council, the Air Navigation Commission and various technical working groups and panels established in accordance with arrangements endorsed by all ICAO Member States.

Australia sits on the governing ICAO Council and is one of 11 elected States of chief importance in air transport.

Australian participation

Responsibility for Australia’s participation in ICAO is shared under a tripartite arrangement with Airservices Australia and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, to ensure an informed, coordinated and consistent policy approach. The three parties sponsor the Australian Permanent Mission to the ICAO office in Montreal, Canada, through which Australia’s liaison with ICAO and the coordination of our contribution to ICAO’s activities are directed.

40th ICAO Assembly

The 40th ICAO Assembly was held in Montreal, Canada, from 24 September to 4 October 2019.

Attended by 184 ICAO Member States and 56 international organisations involved in civil aviation, the assembly considered 640 working papers across 52 agenda items. Australia was re-elected to the ICAO Council as a State of chief importance in air transport.

Australia’s key objectives at the ICAO Assembly were achieved. For CASA in particular, this included:

  • considering new competencies for safety inspectors
  • encouraging compliance with ICAO Annex 19: Safety Management, including through regional cooperation and targeted guidance for the development of relevant and effective State safety programs, especially for States with small aviation systems
  • strengthening the focus on the Pacific, consistent with the Beijing Declaration, and taking forward ICAO’s Pacific Small Island Developing States – Aviation Needs Analysis (PSIDS Study)
  • recognising the outcomes of the inaugural Civil Aviation Legal Advisers Forum
  • continuing the work of the Group of Experts for a Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme Structured Review
  • improving key policies identified in an executive summary of the Global Air Navigation Plan, with the most recent version being adopted by the assembly
  • improving implementation of the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System
  • encouraging new technology and innovation
  • advancing initiatives that support women’s participation in aviation.

CASA’s Chief Executive Officer/Director of Aviation Safety hosted a number of meetings with counterparts, including leaders from Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Along with CASA’s Executive Manager Legal, International and Regulatory Affairs, the Chief Executive Officer/Director of Aviation Safety also participated in discussions hosted by the International Air Transport Association on the return to service and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Pacific Small Island Developing States – Aviation Needs Analysis

During the 40th ICAO Assembly, Australia called for further support for States to implement Standards and Recommended Practices in the areas of safety, air navigation capacity and efficiency, especially given the challenging demographic and operational conditions of small island States in the Asia-Pacific region.

The PSIDS Study was delivered by ICAO in late 2019. CASA participated in consultation meetings in Nadi, Fiji, in September 2019. The study resulted in recommendations for the Pacific Islands Forum, Pacific Islands States and ICAO. Among the key recommendations accepted by the ICAO Council, ICAO will establish a liaison officer position to be based in the Pacific and an assistance coordination platform will be established for Pacific Islands States.

ICAO global response to COVID-19

The ICAO Council adopted a declaration in March 2020 relating to the outbreak of COVID-19. The declaration affirmed the urgent need to reduce the public health risk of the spread of COVID-19 by air transport and protect the health of air travellers and aviation personnel.

The Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART) – a high-level group involving a mix of industry leaders and State representatives aimed at restarting the international air transport system and aligning its global recovery – delivered recommendations and ‘Take-Off’ guidance. Australia’s representative on the ICAO Council was a member of the CART.

CASA is also represented on the ICAO APAC COVID-19 Contingency and Recovery Planning Group. This group focuses on the recovery of the Asia-Pacific aviation sector in terms of financial, facilitation and health-strengthening mechanisms.

Directors General of Civil Aviation Conference

The Directors General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Conference is an annual multilateral meeting that allows the heads of civil aviation regulatory agencies in the Asia-Pacific region to collaborate on improving aviation safety in a coordinated manner.

The 56th DGCA Conference was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 19–23 August 2019, with the theme of ‘Harmonising efforts to meet capacity constraints’. CASA’s Chief Executive Officer/Director of Aviation Safety led the Australian delegation to the conference.

Delegates discussed the regional commitment to the Beijing Declaration, which sets aviation safety targets for the region, and considered the next steps for transport ministers to discuss at a meeting in New Delhi, India, planned for late 2020.

CASA’s Chief Executive Officer/Director of Aviation Safety moderated discussions on the aviation safety agenda item. Australia presented a discussion paper outlining the concept for regulatory approval of a commercial drone delivery service and co-authored a paper with New Zealand on a proportionate and risk-based universal safety oversight audit program continuous monitoring approach.

Regional Aviation Safety Group – Asia and Pacific Regions

The Regional Aviation Safety Group – Asia and Pacific Regions (RASG–APAC) is tasked with developing and implementing a work program that supports a regional performance framework for the management of safety on the basis of ICAO’s Global Aviation Safety Plan and Global Aviation Safety Roadmap.

As Chair of the RASG-APAC, CASA’s Chief Executive Officer/Director of Aviation Safety moderated discussions during the group’s ninth meeting, held in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 2019. Key discussions focused on ICAO’s Global Aviation Safety Oversight System, innovation, the identification and reporting of common challenges, and the Safety Information Monitoring System Ramp Inspections Data Sharing Project.

A workshop on developing national aviation safety plans was held at the same time and reported to the RASG-APAC. The RASG-APAC has adopted the Asia-Pacific Regional Aviation Safety Plan, which will assist States in the region with alignment to common goals and strategies.

Cooperative arrangements and agreements

Bilateral arrangements and agreements enable CASA and other Australian Government agencies to formalise regulatory relationships with foreign counterparts and streamline regulatory processes, which benefits the aviation industry by improving the consistency of safety considerations, supports a coordinated approach to regulation and reduces regulatory costs.

CASA participates in arrangements or agreements on matters ranging from airworthiness and aeronautical product certification to information sharing and mutual recognition of operators. These arrangements underpin and institutionalise working relationships between civil aviation safety agencies and enable better regulatory oversight of operators and companies that conduct business in Australia and overseas.

COVID-19 exemptions

CASA’s existing relationships with counterparts continued to provide benefits during the significant challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and supported open dialogue on regulatory exemptions and alleviations for industry.

At the core of CASA’s domestic exemptions was the motivation to ensure reduced costs for industry during this time. CASA’s international efforts focused on ensuring that the exemptions were acknowledged and accepted by other States, to maintain critical infrastructure and support the viability and integrity of supply chains globally.

Australia’s stance on trade can be supported by CASA proportionally managing safety risks and encouraging aviation activity in the region. This may alleviate broader concerns within the United Nations system that border closures are shutting down the global air cargo supply chain, which could potentially hamper the distribution of emergency equipment globally.

Engagement with aviation authorities

CASA participated in airworthiness and engineering training delivered by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This opportunity built on the significant engagement with the FAA and others to consider the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX.

CASA also continued to proactively engage and maintain positive working relationships with other key aviation authorities, including the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, Transport Canada, the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and others.

Regional cooperation

The Australian Government’s bilateral arrangements with Indonesia and Papua New Guinea on aviation matters form part of a whole-of-portfolio approach to capacity building which includes the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Airservices Australia, the ATSB, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Bureau of Meteorology.

In 2019–20, regional cooperation included activities focused on women in aviation and leadership skills, aviation medicine, and engagement at international forums such as the 56th DGCA Conference, the 40th ICAO Assembly and Safeskies.

Other capacity-building activities due to be delivered by CASA in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea under Australian Aid programs in 2019–20 ceased when COVID-19 impacted in-person delivery.