The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) were again before the Senate Regional Rural Affairs Transport Committee (RRAT) on the 4th April, to respond to further questions regarding recent changes to Community Service Flights, specifically focussed on CASA’s statistical data report that was used in claiming a need to implement the 09/19 Community Service Flights legislation.
– CASA confirmed that the Federal Court of Victoria rejected the application by Angel Flight for a stay in the CASA 09/19 legislation, which came into effect on the 19th of March.
– Senator Patrick confirmed that CASA had provided the RRAT committee with a statistical data report, that asserts the rate of incident and fatal accident for Angel Flight is higher than the mean general aviation average.
– Senator Patrick sought clarification from Mr Carmody, seeking to understand if the supplied statistical data report included all Angel Flight flight activities, or just data for the flight sectors during which an Angel Flight passenger was on board. Mr Carmody confirmed that CASA only included flight sectors where an Angel Flight passenger was onboard. Mr Carmody stated that this was the only area of interest to CASA and that the regulator had no interest in positioning flights as they were considered private flights.
– Senator Patrick sought to understand why CASA did not include the positioning flights, given that the only reason the aircraft was being flown was for the purpose of conducting an Angel Flight mission, highlighting that the Angel Flight sector with the passenger would not be possible without the positioning flight. Mr Carmody responded by stating that by definition Community Service Flight was one in which a patient/carer passenger was onboard, not just a pilot positioning the aircraft.
– Senator Patrick confirmed that CASA’s statistical data report was collated across a period of 2008 to 2017. Mr Carmody confirmed that CASA had access to four (4) years of data that was provided by Angel Flight to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), from which they extrapolated a total flight figure of 17,700. Mr Carmody went further to say that Angel Flight had conducted 1,500 flights per year during the period.
– Senator Patrick confirmed that he had received a report from Angel Flight which indicated that they have a different data set to what CASA is asserting and that their statistics show a very different result to CASA. Senator Patrick also sought to understand if CASA had been contacted by Angel Flight, expressing their concerns with CASA’s data. Mr Carmody responded with no.
– Senator Patrick informed that Angel Flight have challenged CASA’s statistical data report, claiming the way in which CASA have calculated the rate of incident and accident to be inaccurate and presents an inaccurate picture of the risks associated with Community Service Flight operations. Senator Patrick informed that he would like to place on notice Angel Flights concerns, seeking CASA to respond.