Aviation safety issues and actions

Angel Flight Australia consideration of commercial flights

Issue number: AO-2017-069-SI-01
Who it affects: All passengers on community service flights conducted by Angel Flight Australia
Issue owner: Angel Flight Australia
Operation affected: Aviation: General aviation
Background: Investigation Report AO-2017-069
Date: 13 August 2019

Safety issue description

Angel Flight did not consider the safety benefits of commercial passenger flights when suitable flights were available.

Response to safety issue from Angel Flight: Angel Flight consider it inappropriate for [the ATSB] to criticise the charity for not abandoning the model for which it was constituted. Angel Flight only consider the use of regular passenger transport in two circumstances: if a private pilot is unavailable or cancels at short notice and flights are available, or if the flights are capital city to capital city. They are not, and are not required to be, considered other than as a back-up and for long distance compassionate flights.

ATSB comment: The ATSB acknowledges that Angel Flight uses commercial passenger transport for some flights it organises. This ATSB investigation showed that commercial passenger flight options are available for a considerable percentage of the private flights organised by Angel Flight. As a charity established to transport people without the means to medical appointments, the ATSB considers that Angel Flight could and should include the fact that commercial passenger flights have a lower safety risk to passengers than private operations as a factor when it is organising flights.

The ATSB is issuing the following recommendation.


Action organisation: Angel Flight Australia
Action number: AO-2017-069-SR-015
Date: 13 August 2019
Action status: Released

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that Angel Flight Australia takes action to enable it to consider the safety benefits of using commercial flights where they are available to transport its passengers.

Current issue status: Safety action pending
Last update 13 August 2019