Aviation safety issues and actions

Regulatory surveillance – scoping of surveillance events

Issue number: AO-2017-005-SI-08
Who it affects: All operators.
Issue owner: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Operation affected: Aviation: Air transport
Background: Investigation Report AO-2017-005
Date: 17 October 2019

Safety issue description

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s procedures and guidance for scoping a surveillance event included several important aspects, but it did not formally include the nature of the operator’s activities, the inherent threats or hazards associated with those activities, and the risk controls that were important for managing those threats or hazards.

Response by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority:

In August 2019, in response to the draft ATSB report, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) stated:

CASA, as a regulator, has the ability to help ensure that an operator complies with aviation safety regulations and operations manual procedures through ongoing surveillance. Both CASA’s records and the draft [ATSB] report indicate that CASA had identified issues with the operator which were addressed (at least in terms of operations manual procedures).

However, the effectiveness of CASA’s system of regulatory surveillance and auditing in ensuring safety is based on the assumption that operators are genuinely interested in, and meaningfully committed to, compliance. What appears to have occurred in this case is that Wyndham Aviation had developed a culture of wilful, or at least habitual, non-compliance with both the safety regulations and the requirements of the Wyndham Aviation operations manual.

CASA has a robust entry control and oversight system which is continually under review and in this case additional or different oversight is unlikely to have significantly impacted the attitudes and behaviours of the operator.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB notes that CASA has advised that it continually reviews its entry control and oversight system. However, the ATSB is concerned that CASA has not outlined any specific safety action to address this safety issue, nor has it undertaken any apparent safety action to effectively address a similar safety issue released in November 2017 (AO-2014-190-SI-14). Accordingly, the ATSB issues the following recommendation.

Recommendation

Action organisation: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action number: AO-2017-005-SR-026
Date: 17 October 2019
Action status: Released

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority undertake further work to improve its procedures and guidance for scoping surveillance activities to formally include the nature of the operator’s activities, the inherent threats or hazards associated with those activities, and the risk controls that were important for managing those threats or hazards.

Current issue status: Safety action pending
Last update 17 October 2019