Over the last year, six new flight operations regulations have been signed into law, a major milestone for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia. Agency officials said updates to CASA Parts 91, 119, 121, 133, 135, and 138 “consolidate the existing flight operations rules, deliver safety improvements and align [requirements] with international best practice.”
While the rules have been enacted, this is only the first step in the process, because compliance won’t be required until March 25, 2021. In the interim, CASA will develop documents to support the regulations, as well as material to provide guidance and compliance recommendations. According to CASA, “All pilots and operators who fly in Australia will be affected by these new rules, with the exception of drone, sport and recreation, and balloon pilots and operators.”
One of the main aims of the new rules is to improve the safety of Part 135 charter operations. “There is a significant statistical difference in accident rates between charter and regular public transport (RPT) flights,” noted CASA officials. “There are also, currently, different regulatory requirements for RPT and charter. The new rules reduce this difference by creating one category of air transport, but scale the requirements to the size and complexity of the operations.”
Meanwhile, the Australia Safety Transportation Bureau (ATSB) has released its annual 10-year statistical report of accidents and incidents, 2008 through 2017. Although there were no fatalities in high-capacity scheduled airline operations in the 10-year study, the period did see an increase in fatalities from other segments.
Of turbine and non-turbine aircraft combined, 200 were involved in accidents in Australia, and 203 were involved in a serious incident: commercial operations (including business charter) experienced 28 fatalities from 14 accidents; personal and business general aviation suffered 68 killed in 116 crashes. Recreational flying, training, aerial and agricultural work, and search and rescue accounted for the remaining fatal mishaps.