Trends in immediately reportable matters involving charter operations 2001 to 2006


This study reviewed safety trends in the Australian aviation charter industry for the period 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2006. It builds on a previous descriptive study that reviewed immediately reportable matters (IRMs) for regular public transport (RPT) aviation operations. Together, charter and RPT operations make up the air transport sector in Australia. Similar to the previous report, a subset of generally more serious IRMs were reviewed including: accidents; violations of controlled airspace (VCA); breakdowns of separation (BOS) and airproxes; fire, smoke, explosions or fumes; crew injury or incapacitation; fuel exhaustion; and uncontained engine failures. Charter flying activity, measured as flying hours and number of charter operators, was also reviewed.

Hours flown in charter operations initially declined over the study period with an increase across 2004 to 2006. However, the number of hours flown in 2006, the latest year reviewed, was not as high as the historical peak in charter hours observed in 1999. The number of charter operators decreased in 2005 and 2006, so fewer operators conducted more of the hours flown in those years.

Total IRMs reported and the IRM categories examined, were generally stable with the exception of accidents. The rate of accidents decreased significantly between 2001 and 2006. Occurrences involving fire, smoke or fumes, and airspace-related occurrences such as VCA and BOS/airprox, remained stable with no statistically significant increase in the rate across 2001 to 2006. The rate of fuel exhaustion occurrences for the period was 0.4 occurrences per 100,000 hours flown. The other IRM categories; crew injury/incapacitation and uncontained engine failures, were rare.

This review provided encouraging data on the charter accident rate, emphasised the stability of the rate of airspace related occurrences, and the rarity of uncontained engine failures and crew incapacitation in charter operations.

Type: Research and Analysis Report
Author(s): ATSB
Publication date: 17 April 2009
ISBN: 978-1-921602-06-1
Publication number: AR-2007-057
Last update 07 April 2014
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