Changes to community service flights by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority are expected to be made as early as next week, barely a fortnight after the period for submissions closed.
The Australian understands widespread anger in regional and rural communities about the changes, has prompted CASA Chief Executive Shane Carmody to move quickly.
All but one of the changes, relating to aircraft maintenance, are tipped to be part of a new CASA instrument that will be tabled in federal parliament.
National not-for-profit operation Angel Flight has warned the changes could force it to stop helping rural people tavel to non-emergency medical appointments in cities.
Chief Executive Majorie Pagani said the changes would require pilots to meet a higher standard than those already imposed by their CASA licence, in order to help others.
But in an interview with ABC regional radio, CASA Chairman Tony Matthews said two fatal crashes involving Angel Flight gave CASA no choice but to review arrangements.
“We had to go back in as CASA and see what level pilots should be at to be flying passengers around on technically what is not a private flight,” Mr Matthews said.
“All the fuel is paid for, so we’re just looking at what level of safety that is suitable for what they’re actually doing.”
A minimum level of flying experience would also be imposed, to ensure a “level of performance from the pilots that’s commensurate with what they’re doing”.
“To some extent these flights put a little bit of pressure on you, in that you need to get people to their appointment or get them home. That puts pressure on the pilot,” said Mr Matthews.
Ms Pagani said she would be surprised if CASA had even read all the 160 submissions made to the authority in response to the proposed changes.