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Lessons For Civil Aviation

The independent review of the Civil Aviation Authority was released today by Transport Minister Mark Gosche.

“The review, by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and two international aviation consultants, is the most comprehensive examination of New Zealand’s aviation safety systems in more than a decade. While each transport agency is reviewed every three years, this review was broadened to honour the government’s pre-election pledge.” Mr Gosche said.

“The review found that overall the fundamental structure of civil aviation safety regulation in New Zealand was very sound and consistent with international good practice.”

“There are, however, aspects of the report’s findings that give cause for concern. While it acknowledges the CAA has achieved a great deal, it also calls on the Authority to be more consistently consultative, transparent and collaborative, and says that its internal systems needed more strategic focus.”
The report also recommended that the CAA assess its legal compliance risks, and develop strategies to mitigate those risks. Other recommendations included a call for the CAA to improve its relationships with the industry.
“There is a clear message to the CAA to be more open to industry participation in discussions of issues, objectives and policies, including more face to face contact between the CAA staff and industry participants.”
The review also had concerns about the aviation industry itself.

“While the review finds the larger commercial operators have a good safety conscious culture, it is a different story when it comes to some of the smaller operators.”

“The review team expressed considerable concern with the small and general aviation sectors. They noted that safety targets are not being achieved and that the accident record in these sectors compares poorly with other developed nations.”

“There’s a big challenge for those sectors of the industry. I’ve not had the opportunity to discuss this with industry representatives yet, but I am keen to as soon as possible.”
“It’s in everyone’s interests to get the smaller aviation operators to lift their game. I’m keen to work with them to help that happen.”
The CAA has accepted the report’s recommendations and will take the report as a blueprint for the future.
“The government has already taken some important steps to improve aviation safety. For example two Civil Aviation Amendment Bills are currently with a select committee. Separately, I am instituting a Ministerial examination of the medical standards that the CAA applies. This latest report about the Authority and its relationship with the industry gives a fix on a broader range of issues.”
Mr Gosche said he was confident that the CAA would rise to the challenge that the review report has set.
“I know that the industry will work with it to that end, and, where necessary, accept the need to change.”

Copies of the report can be accessed on : http://www.transport.govt.nz/

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