Featured on www.aviationbusiness.com.au on 13 October 2016
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has extended the implementation period for new CAO48.1 fatigue regulations by one year.
Air operators will now have until 1 May 2018 to transition to the new regulations, and will be required to submit their draft operations manual changes, or an application for a fatigue risk management system (FRMS), to CASA by October 31, 2017.
CASA has put the delay down to extensive feedback from the aviation community that the most recent amendment in July 2016 provided insufficient time to transition and that air operators also wanted more time to consider their options under CAO 48.1 and a number wanted extra time to develop and implement fatigue risk management systems.
CASA has also stated a need to provide more support through education, information and support tools on the new fatigue rules. CASA will use the extended transition period to conduct an independent review of fatigue limits.
Pilot groups such as the Australian Airline Pilots’ Association (AusALPA) have criticised the delay as a tactic on the part of airline operators to avoid the more restrictive requirements of the new regulations, saying that existing regulations are out of step with recent scientific approaches to fatigue.
“AusALPA is deeply concerned that the further delay only serves the commercial interests of industry bodies, such as the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, instead of an improved, more scientific approach to pilot fatigue risk management,” said AusALPA President and Qantas 737 pilot Nathan Safe.
“The implementation date was delayed by 12 months until May 2016 and has now been delayed by a further year without any reasonable explanation. AusALPA is concerned that CASA’s proposed ‘independent’ review may well recommend further delays.”
Regional Aviation Association of Australia chair Greg Russell said operators requested the delay because more time was needed to gauge the long term effects of the new CAO48.1.
“We believe some of the wording in the new regulation was not appropriate and that the full ramifications of its introduction were not fully understood,” he said.
“We campaigned to have another year and we believe that is the best way to go.”