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Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201400070
Date reported 14 August 2014
Concern title Underqualified cabin staff operating as cabin safety managers
Concern summary

The concern related to cabin staff being asked to act as cabin crew managers without the appropriate qualifications.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Cabin safety

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern in relation to the experience levels of staff being asked to act as cabin crew managers.

The reporter advised that the operator does not have sufficient cabin crew supervisors to cover extended periods of leave (maternity, sick and annual leave). This has meant that inexperienced cabin crew members have been asked to work extra shifts, often ‘acting up’ in a supervisor position.

The reporter advised that cabin crew members with very little experience (often less than six months and sometimes less than three months) are being asked to manage the cabin and are often advised that the flight will have to be cancelled if they refuse.

Reporter comment: Cabin Supervisors spend another week of classroom training and 4 days of on-board training before fully qualifying for the role, how is it acceptable for someone with 3 months total flying experience to be in charge of a cabin?

Operator's response (Operator 1)

We comply with current CASA legislation and IOSA [International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit] Standards with regard to allocation of operating positions and rank for each aircraft type.

Our cabin crew members are trained in all operating positions for each aircraft type on which they are endorsed. The training and assessment requirements for Standard Operating Procedures and Emergency Procedures are identical regardless of the rank assigned to individual crew members.

Cabin Crew Management supports and monitors each cabin crew member’s development from initial training through to completion of the required consolidation sectors for each aircraft type followed by progression through the stages of the leadership development program, should the crew member elect to take part.

Documented procedures define the Company’s policy and procedures relating to the use of a cabin crew member to act as temporary relief for a Cabin Supervisor should they become incapacitated or otherwise unable to fulfil their rostered duty. The role of the ‘Relief’ or ‘Acting Up’ crew member is based primarily on the positional duties for the L1 [door left 1] operating position which they are trained to carry out.

We are actively monitoring the use of these ‘Relief’ or ‘Acting Up’ Cabin Supervisors in order to maintain operational numbers appropriate for the planned lines of flying each roster period. This oversight, coupled with feedback from the cabin and flight crew themselves enables the ability to identify and react to opportunities for continuous improvement.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the REPCON and believes that the information the operator has provided in their response to the REPCON is correct. CASA has recently completed a Level 1 Systems Safety Audit on the operator where the matter of ‘Acting up of Cabin Crew’ was raised. There is no regulatory breach as there is currently no legislation requiring upgrade training. All cabin crew members are trained to the required competency standard at all crew stations. The operator does have an upgrade training course for cabin crew members; however, it is not mandatory and therefore not enforceable by the regulator.

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Last update 15 May 2015