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AOPA Australia Speaks with 2GB’s Steve Price

AOPA Australia Speaks with 2GB’s Steve Price

AOPA Australia Speaks with 2GB’s Steve Price

July 5, 2019 By Kreisha Ballantyne
AOPA Australia Executive Director Benjamin Morgan speaks with 2GB’s Steve Price, regarding allegations raised by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, which were reported to have been leaked by a...

AOPA Australia Executive Director Benjamin Morgan speaks with 2GB’s Steve Price, regarding allegations raised by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, which were reported to have been leaked by a CASA representative to the Daily Telegraph.

Alan Jones Full Show July 1st

2GB, Steve Price:

  • Big story around on the weekend, in relation to airline safety, focussing on the regional air carrier REX.  Now this was a leaked report that shows that the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) making allegations against REX of intimidating staff and bullying them.  Now REX denies that this is the case and say they are dealing with a disgruntled engineer, on the line is Ben Morgan who is with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, morning to you Ben;

AOPA Australia, Benjamin Morgan:

  • G’day Steve how are you going?

2GB, Steve Price:

  • I’m okay, does this report. Do you understand this report relates to any safety issues?

AOPA Australia, Benjamin Morgan:

  • Well look what we know so far Steve is that the ALAEA has issued CASA with a fairly comprehensive report that is highlighting, what really can only be considered serious deficiencies with the culture of the maintenance operations for Regional Express.
  • Now, we haven’t seen the report first hand, and really at this point in time the report is of significant public interest and so I think it should be released.
  • But really the issues that have been raised here are the way in which Regional Express are supporting their engineers or whether they’re not supporting engineers to come forward and raise concerns regarding the safety of aircraft.

2GB, Steve Price:

  • So of what you know of this, and I understand you haven’t seen the report, would you be flying REX today

AOPA Australia, Benjamin Morgan:

  • I don’t think I would like to get drawn into the question of whether the aircraft are airworthy at this point in time, because I have no doubt that the airline is also trying to do its best.
  • But clearly where there is smoke, there is some fire and you’ve got the ALAEA which is the union representing the engineering fraternity.
  • I can’t imagine that the union would have taken the decision lightly to issue such a comprehensive report.
  • So realistically the Civil Aviation Safety Authority at this point in time need to put an independent team together, they need to get out there and start taking a look at the aircraft themselves to establish the veracity of the report’s allegations and I guess make it clear to the public, whether we do or do not have a problem with that airline.

2GB, Steve Price:

  • Well it seems CASA’s been sitting on it’s hands and they’ve had this report for months haven’t they?

AOPA Australia, Benjamin Morgan:

  • Well Steve it goes a little bit further than that, I understand that based on media reports some of the concerns and allegations raised go back as far as 2016, and that would seem to indicate that there’s been substantial time on some of these issues pass under the bridge.
  • So what we also see more broadly with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority at the moment and this is something the Australian public really should be quite concerned with, is that they are actually right now in a process of trying to sub-contract out a lot of their regulatory services and the industry management.
  • In the general aviation sector we have got a stunning situation where they are now trying to effectively privatise their regulatory functions into these self-administrations, and so we have large portions of the general aviation industry who are right now vying to effectively buy up the rights of aircraft owners and pilots, turn them into a private business and run them as an independent operation external to CASA.
  • What we know with the airlines is that the regulator at the moment largely relies on the airlines to establish a Safety Management System and effectively compares to maybe 30 years ago.
  • Today CASA operates relatively hands-off, and I think what we are starting to see is some cracks in this position and there are a lot of people within the industry starting to question the judgement of just how effective the Civil Aviation Safety Authority can be if it continues to operate at such a distance.

2GB, Steve Price:

  • You just wonder sometimes Ben don’t you, because we’ve got such a safe industry we take it for granted.

AOPA Australia, Benjamin Morgan:

  • Well look Steve, you’re absolutely right.  I think that the Australian public really should be taking a keen interest in these things and I think that the Deputy Prime Minister, who is the Minister for Transport, Mr McCormack needs to come out today and I think he needs to start clarifying some facts.
  • If it is in fact his intention to privatise the safety functions of the industry and allow the airlines and allow general aviation community to manage their own affairs and for the regulator to sit back and simply at arm’s length create some paperwork, then I think he’s got to come clean and he’s got to let everyone know that this is exactly what’s going on, because that is exactly what’s taking place.
  • And, you have to question whether that’s going to deliver us higher safety or in fact its going to allow corporates to start making decisions on behalf of the safety of the public.  And we know how well that’s worked out with the Boeing 737 MAX.

2GB, Steve Price:

  • Well said Ben, thank you very much for that disturbing report about Rex Airlines, we will get some comment from them if we can.
Kreisha Ballantyne

Kreisha’s experience across various sectors of the aviation industry reflect her passion for general aviation. In previous editorial roles at AOPA Australian Pilot, Sport Pilot and AirSport, Kreisha has had the privilege of flying in – and writing about -a multitude of aircraft types, from a powered parachute to a PC12. Kreisha is currently a feature writer for Australian Flying magazine, as well as CASA’s Flight Safety Australia. As a private pilot, Kreisha has experienced an incredible array of aviation adventures, including flying solo across Australia in heels and lipstick to influence young female pilots; wing-walking on a vintage Stearman; flying in New Zealand, the UK, the USA and Austria; and interviewing a diverse and incredible cross-section of aviators. Now in her tenth year in the industry, she is delighted to continue her passion for writing about aviation as one of AOPA’s new digital editors.

Topic: Community

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