Regulatory surveillance – surveillance planning
Date issue released
Safety Issue Description

Although the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) collected or had access to many types of information about a charter and/or aerial work operator, the information was not integrated to form a useful operations or safety profile of the operator. In addition, CASA’s processes for obtaining information on the nature and extent of an operator’s operations were limited and informal. These limitations reduced its ability to effectively prioritise surveillance activities.

Issue number
Transport Function
Aviation: Air transport
Issue Owner
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Mode of Transport
Issue Status Justification

The ATSB is satisfied that CASA has undertaken action to address this issue since November 2009.

Proactive action
Action number
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action date
Action Status
Action description

In August 2017 (after receiving the draft ATSB report for the reopened investigation), CASA advised the ATSB:

CASA implemented a national approach to surveillance in 2012 with the introduction of the CASA Surveillance Framework which included the CASA Surveillance Manual (CSM) and a supporting software tool, Sky Sentinel. This provided a formal process and platform for capturing and integrating a range of information about the activities of authorisation holders and the capacity for CASA to regularly assess this information.

Authorisation management teams are required to conduct regular formal discussions of each allocated authorisation holder, taking into consideration their current safety status and focusing on operational changes. The output of these formal discussions is a shared understanding of the operations of authorisation holders providing a picture of whether any significant change has occurred. Recorded notes of formal discussions are captured in Sky Sentinel.

Authorisation Holder Performance Indicator (AHPI) assessments are also required to be completed at regular intervals for each authorisation holder by the responsible authorisation management team. AHPI assessments apply a questionnaire-based tool located in Sky Sentinel that focuses on a number of factors commonly recognised as affecting or relating to safety performance/behaviours, and are conducted to ensure the safety performance of all authorisation holders are appropriately examined on an ongoing basis.

It is a requirement that information relevant to surveillance considerations is to be recorded in Sky Sentinel as comments against the relevant authorisation holder. This includes intelligence gathered from various sources both within and outside of an authorisation management team.

Formal discussion notes, AHPI assessments and general comments—along with other relevant information such as outstanding findings history and time since last surveillance—are integrated in Sky Sentinel for consideration as part of the authorisation holder assessment process. This allows for the identification of areas of concern and the development of proposals for surveillance to be considered in a surveillance priority review.

CASA is currently developing and implementing a National Surveillance Selection Process (NSSP), which will be an enhanced systematic approach to the prioritisation of CASA's surveillance activities. This will build upon existing authorisation holder risk and performance profiling capabilities, further improving the collection and integration of operational and safety information to support a consistent risk-based approach to surveillance prioritisation and planning on a national basis. The NSSP is expected to be fully deployed by June 2018.

ATSB Response

The ATSB acknowledges CASA’s surveillance processes have undergone significant evolution since 2009, and that it is continuing to review and develop its surveillance processes. It should also be noted that the ATSB will review CASA’s oversight processes since the introduction of the CSM in 2012 during the course of other investigations, including investigation AI-2017-100 (Case study: implementation and oversight of an airline's safety management system during rapid expansion).