The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released a progress update to its investigation: The approval processes for the Bulla Road Precinct Retail Outlet Centre.
Five people on board a Beechcraft B200 King Air died in 2017 when the light aircraft crashed into the DFO retail complex built at the southern end of Essendon Airport's main runway in 2005.
The Australian Airline Pilots' Association (AusALPA) has long been concerned about commercial buildings encroaching on airspace and has questioned why a shopping centre was built closer to a runway than international standards allow.
AusALPA now calls for a government review to fully address safety and economic regulation issues at Australia’s airports in an aim to genuinely reform airspace protection and other operational safeguards at Australia’s airports.
It believes that latent safety problems exist in the system of airports regulation where aviation safety considerations are made secondary to development objectives.
AusALPA considers the regulatory system to be flawed due to an inappropriate bias that mandates that development proposals or airspace penetrations must be granted unless almost impossible to achieve risk thresholds are breached.
It also hopes that the final report will also address other related matters that have occurred at Essendon Airport since the investigation was commenced.
Essendon Airport Pty Ltd is run by the families of Lindsay Fox and Max Beck under a 99 year lease from the federal government. In 2005, the DFO was built closer to a runway than recommended under international and Australian safety guidelines. Essendon Fields last year proposed narrowing the runway strip width so it can construct more buildings around the airfield.
AusALPA is the Australian member association of the International Federation of Airline Pilot Associations (IFALPA The Global Voice of Pilots) which represents 100,000 pilots in 100 countries. AusALPA represents more than 7,500 professional commercial pilots and is committed to protecting and advancing aviation safety standards in Australia.