Airservices Australia’s processes for reviewing and testing contingency plans did not effectively ensure that all documented contingency plan details were current and that its contingency plans could be successfully implemented at short notice.
Response to safety issue
In response to this safety issue, Airservices Australia (Airservices) advised the following:
Airservices considers that the established process currently in place for reviewing and testing contingency plans for currency and effectiveness is robust and fit for purpose.
Airservices reported that the National ATS Contingency Plan documented the requirements for routine review and testing of contingency plans, in addition to the requirement for a Post Activation Review to be completed following the activation of an ATS contingency (either live or test) and that report was ‘reviewed by Airservices Management to ensure appropriate corrective action is taken and lessons learnt.’
In addition, Airservices advised:
However, Airservices acknowledges that closer consultation with Indonesia in relation to contingency arrangement notification is necessary. This matter will be addressed under the guidelines of the ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Contingency Plan Task Force (RACP/TF) and the bi-annual Australia/Indonesia ATS Coordination Group (AUSINDO).
The ATSB is not satisfied that Airservices has adequately addressed the identified safety issue. Although there was an established schedule for the routine review and testing of contingency plans, the processes associated with those reviews was not effective in ensuring that the plan could be effectively implemented within a limited period of time, including through the ability to contact key stakeholders. There was no documented evidence of the completion of some reviews and no documentation of the outcomes of the annual review of the Tops Group contingency plan that was completed 7 months prior to the occurrence. The ATSB acknowledges the existing contingency plan review schedule, but remains concerned that the processes associated with those reviews allowed contingency plan elements to contribute to this occurrence.