General aviation policy and regulatory action

Australia’s general aviation (GA) sector will benefit from a number of significant policy and regulatory actions being taken by the Liberal and Nationals’ Government and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said reforms continue to be made to key areas of safety regulation by which will benefit GA in Australia.

These reforms include fundamental improvements to the aviation medical system for pilots and work to streamline maintenance regulations.

“CASA has introduced the new Basic Class 2 medical, which makes the process of getting a medical certificate much easier for many private pilots. The new medical assessment is based on the Ausroads commercial driver’s licence standard and can be conducted by a pilot’s local GP.

“This change builds on aviation medical reforms earlier this year which included making a Class 2 medical certificate available for pilots operating non-commercial flights in smaller aircraft and enabling Designated Aviation Medical examiners to issue Class 2 medical certificates on the spot, streamlining the processing of medical certificate applications.”

Mr McCormack also announced CASA has started work on the development of new GA maintenance regulations with the stated objective of minimising regulatory burden and reducing costs.

CASA CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody said there will be a new set of maintenance regulations tailored specifically for GA, based as far as possible on the best practices in leading aviation nations such as the United States.

“CASA is also working on improvements to the regulations covering maintenance personnel licencing and aircraft design and manufacturing,” Mr Carmody said.

“I am very pleased CASA will be drafting these new regulations with comprehensive guidance material in plain English to support them.”

Mr McCormack said these initiatives also follow on from the release of the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics GA Study, commissioned by the Government to assist with better understanding of, and response to, the challenges and opportunities faced by the GA sector.

“In May this year I was pleased to attend the industry-led GA Advisory Group meeting, where the Group finalised its own GA work plan to help ensure the sector’s future,” Mr McCormack said.

Mr McCormack also highlighted aviation training and the availability and retention of aviation professionals are key issues currently impacting the sustainability and expansion of Australia’s aviation industry including general aviation.

An industry-led review of aviation skills and training has been conducted by Mr Greg Russell, Chair of the Australian Aviation Associations Forum, and will make recommendations for industry and Government consideration later this month.

Mr McCormack further said the Government is aware the flight crew licencing suit of regulations has created a number of challenges for the flight training sector and welcomes submissions to the GA Advisory Group which will focus on specific aspects of these regulations to ascertain if improvements may be achieved.

“I will continue to listen and consider carefully the issues being raised by people in the GA sector and the Government and portfolio aviation agencies will respond appropriately.

“We will deliver meaningful reforms for the benefit of general aviation while maintaining the high aviation safety standards demanded by all Australians.”