Aviation safety regulation timeline 1982-2011

Updated 7 February 2011

Matthew James
Science, Technology, Environment and ResourcesSection


Affordable Aviation Safety Regulation
Airline Deregulation and Australian Air Crashes
Ageing Aircraft and CASA Conflicts
New Beginnings, 9/11 and the Demise of Ansett
Stable and Secure Skies with Air Traffic Control
Storm Clouds Gather over a Mountainside
Australasian events bring Regulation into Review


A good safety record is a judgement of past performance and does not guarantee the future, although it is a useful indicator. In 2000, it was demonstrated that even highly reputable operators are not fail safe, with the crash of an Air France Concorde at Paris and a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 at Taipei. While major Australian airlines may be a good choice, because they have not had a recent fatal event, they may also be a poor choice for the same reason. Technical development and continuing pressure to maintain an accident free record will counter this.

Airline operators, pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, government regulators and makers all have a stake in making aviation as safe as possible. While pilot error is said to be on the decline, factors of fatigue, weather, congestion and automated systems have complicated safety. Our wide, flat continent with generally mild weather and limited congestion assists with safety. In Australia, general aviation seems to face the greatest task of improving its safety record while airports too must be safe.

The industry is continually finding means to make flying safer through better training and new safety technologies. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), manufacturers and others bodies cooperate in this aim. As they expect world air traffic to double or more by 2020, the accident rate must be reduced in order to avoid major accidents occurring more frequently around the globe.

The safety record of overseas operators is only relevant to the Australian scene through a comparison of accident or fatality rates and then on a category by category basis. The most relevant comparative safety figures for passenger carrying activities are the number of fatalities per 100 million passenger miles and/or the number of accidents per the number of aircraft operation cycles. ICAO publishes these figures on worldwide and major airline operating country bases.

This timeline of major international and domestic events related to aviation safety, over the past twenty-five years, takes a global perspective of the subject. The many references to overseas accidents are included for their influence on Australian aviation operations and safety. Nonetheless, the timeline is a selective record of events, with a particular focus on those airlines that fly here.


CAIR, the Confidential Aviation Incident Reporting scheme was in use by BASI and the ATSB since 1988. It served the industry well, until replacement by a new voluntary and confidential aviation reporting system, introduced by the Federal Government, entitled the Aviation Self Reporting Scheme (ASRS) that commenced operation on 21 February 2004.

ETOPS, extended-range twin-engine operations permits commercial air transports to fly routes that, at some points, are further than a distance of 60 minutes flying time from an emergency or diversion airport, by incorporating specific hardware improvements and establishing specific maintenance and operational procedures.

LAMP, the Low-level Airspace Reform Plan of the Special Aviation Reform Group (ARG) was the subject of over two years of consultation and development. On May 13 2002, the Transport Minister announced that the Government had accepted the recommendation of the (ARG) and that the National Airspace System (NAS) would apply.

NAS, the National Airspace System had claimed fundamental characteristics of simplicity, compliance with ICAO airspace practice and its allocation of services on the basis of risk. The NAS was said to follow United States practice and involved modifications of the existing airspace environment ranging from new airspace classifications to changes in pilot and air traffic controller procedures.

SIMOPS. Australia's history of low airport congestion obviated any need for simultaneous runway operations using crossing runways (SIMOPS) to control movement except in recent times at Sydney Airport. In October 1997, ASA and CASA introduced Land and Hold Short Operations (LAHSO) procedures for cross runway use.

TAAATS, the Australian Advanced Air Traffic System is a fully integrated airspace management and air traffic control system with its design based on the amalgamation of Australia's six Flight Information Regions into two. This resulted in all en route air traffic control being consolidated to two centres located in Brisbane and Melbourne.

TCAS, the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System is an instrument integrated into an aircraft cockpit. It provides a set of electronic eyes so the pilot can "see" the traffic situation in the vicinity of the aircraft.. The instrument sounds an alarm when it determines that another aircraft will pass too closely to the subject aircraft. TCAS provides a backup to the air traffic control systems regular separation processes.



Australian Maritime Safety Authority


Aviation Reform Group


Australian Aviation Council


Australian Search and Rescue


Airservices Australia


Aviation Safety Forum


Aviation Self Reporting Scheme (ASRS)


Air Traffic Control


Australian Transport Safety Bureau


Bureau of Air Safety Investigation


Civil Aviation Authority


Confidential Aviation Incident Reporting scheme.


Civil Aviation Safety Authority


Extended Twin engine Operations


Federal Aviation Administration


International Air Transport Association


International Civil Aviation Organisation


Low Level Airspace Reform Plan


National Airspace System


National Transportation Safety Board of the United States


National Transportation Safety Committee of Indonesia


Procedures involving the independent use of intersecting runways


The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System


Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System




Source Documents


Affordable Aviation Safety Regulation

This was a decade of infamous jet air disasters around the globe (although not in Australia) that led to better understanding of the causal factors involved in such events. In Australia, 1988 saw establishment of a separate air safety regulator said to operate on economic principles and the operation of an independent air accident investigation bureau.


13 January 1982

Air Florida Boeing 737 crashed in Washington River, during severe snow and ice conditions, killing 74. The case highlighted the effects of severe weather conditions.

Flight International, 22 January 1983.

7 May 1982

Department of Aviation established taking on the former Department of Transports regulatory responsibility for 441 government or licensed airports around Australia and regulating the operations of almost 7000 aircraft. The first Minister for Aviation was The Hon Wal Fife MP.


24 June 1982

A British Airways Boeing 747 bound for Perth dropped 25000 feet, when its engines failed after passing through a volcanic plume over Indonesia, but landed safely. The CSIRO later undertook ash detection development.

Job, M. Air Disaster 2, March 1996.

9 July 1982

Pan American flight 759 Boeing 727 crashed near New Orleans, probably due to severe wind shear, killing 145.

Flight International, 22 January 1983.

19 August 1982

The Air Accidents (Commonwealth Government Liability) Amendment Bill 1982 debated in Parliament.

House of Representatives Debates, p.735.

26 August 1982

Air Navigation (Charges) Amendment Bill 1982 was put before Parliament to impose an aviation infrastructure levy.

ibid., p. 455

15 September 1982

The Air Navigation Legislation (Validation and Interpretation) Bill 1982 was before Parliament to facilitate the Department of Aviation's legal position.

Senate Debates, p. 1011.


The Advance Inquiry chaired by Sir Sydney Frost looked into the 21 February 1980 crash of a turboprop Beech Super King Air aircraft at Sydney Airport, into the main sea wall, that killed 13.

Sydney Morning Herald, 7 October 1996.

31 August 1983

Korean Airlines flight 007 Boeing 747 shot down over Sea of Japan by a Soviet fighter, killing 259. On 23 September, a Gulf Air Boeing 737 was lost to alleged sabotage, killing 111. Both cases raised wide concerns and an extraordinary assembly of ICAO.

Flight International, 28 January 1984.

27 November 1983

Avianca Boeing 747 crashed near Madrid Airport killing 181 of the 192 aboard. On 12 December, two aircraft collided at Madrid Airport, killing 92.

Flight International, 28 January 1984.

9 May 1984

The Minister for Aviation The Hon Kim Beazley MP introduced the Air Navigation Amendment Bill 1984, to give protection to aircraft crew-members from the use of cockpit voice recorders for purposes not related to safety.

House of Representatives Debates, p. 2127.

13 September 1984

The Air Navigation (Charges) Amendment Bill 1984 and the Air Navigation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1984 introduced by the Minister for Aviation Mr Kim Beazley to provide for charging arrangements. On 13 December 1984, Hon Peter Morris MP became the new minister.

ibid., p. 1288.


The Department of Aviation's released a Review of the Future Role of the Flight Service Officer in the Provision of Air Traffic Services that envisaged the integration of air traffic control functions. With a booklet titled Two Years in the Aviation Hall of Doom aviator and entrepreneur Mr Dick Smith declared that the department had 'had its day' and was 'totally stupid' with regulations that 'reduced safety'. The Minister for Aviation endorsed the safety regime showing Australia having a low accident rate.

Airspace 2000 and Related Issues, p. 1; Canberra Times, 24 May 1985; Australian, 2 March 1985; Flight International, 1 December 1984.

22 November 1984

(Bosch) report released of the Government-commissioned Independent Inquiry into Aviation Cost Recovery.

Australian Financial Review, 21 December 1994.

23 June 1985

Air India flight 182 Boeing 747 was destroyed over the Irish Sea and 329 people died, due to a terrorist bomb later traced to unaccompanied baggage. Security measures were reviewed. Canadian authorities charged a suspect in 2001.

Flight International, 8 March 1986; The Australian, 7 June 2001.

2 August 1985

Delta Airlines flight 191 Tristar L-1011 crashed at Dallas Airport killing 135, due to a violent wind shear microburst. The development of wind shear detectors continued.

Age, 27 July 1987; Sydney Morning Herald, 10 August 1985.

12 August 1985

Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 crashed into a mountain killing 520 of 524, after a structural failure related to maintenance occurred. A review of Boeing 747 structure integrity followed, including inspections of all aircraft.

The Australian, 29 October 1986.

22 August 1985

A British Airtours Boeing 737 caught fire at Manchester Airport killing 54. Many died while trying to escape.

New Scientist, 29 August 1985.

12 March 1986

The Minister for Transport and Minister for Aviation Mr Peter Morris introduced the Air Navigation Amendment Bill 1986 to ratify the (Chicago) Convention on International Civil Aviation and to give effect to its provisions in Australia. These security changes arose from the Korean Airlines flight 007 case of 31 August 1983.

House of Representatives Debates, p.1198.

13 June 1986

Federal Airports Corporation established under the Federal Airports Corporation Act 1985 to assume responsibility for management of 17 major airports by 1988. Meanwhile, Ratner Associates reviewed the Air Traffic Services System while the concept of affordable safety emerged.

Flight International, 25 January 1986.

3 September 1986

An AeroMexico DC9 and a Piper Archer collided on approach to Los Angeles Airport and crashed killing 85, highlighting problems of air congestion and light aircraft detection by larger aircraft.

Age, 3 September 1986.

24 July 1987

Departments of Transport, Aviation and Communications amalgamated to form the Department of Transport and Communications under its Minister, Senator Gareth Evans, who was replaced a year later by Hon Ralph Willis MP.

Airservices Australia web site,

August 1987

Severe turbulence injured 48 on a flight from Tokyo to Sydney. The following May, on a San Francisco to Sydney Qantas flight, 24 people were thrown around and injured in similar circumstances. The compulsory wearing of seat belts while in flight became an issue, as did the search for effective clear-air turbulence detectors.

Age, 17 May1988; Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May1988.

24 August 1987

Northwest Airlines flight 255 MD-80 crashed on take-off from Detroit killing 156, attributed to crew and power failures. See: http://www.flight255memorial.com/

The Australian, 25 August 1987.

10 October 1987

Cargo Westwind jet on charter to Ansett crashed off Sydney Airport killing two. As was usual, the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI) began an inquiry.

Age, 28 September 1987.

8 December 1987

Presentation of the Government's responses to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Expenditure report, No Port in a Storm, on aviation safety regulation, as well as a separate report on sports aviation safety.

House of Representatives Debates, p. 2943.

28 April 1988

Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 lost part of its side, as a result of fatigue while in flight, taking with it an attendant. The aircraft later landed safely but with injured passengers. Ageing aircraft became an aviation industry issue.

Aviation Week and Space Technology, 24 July 1989; The Australian, 5 May 1988.

June 1988

In an embarrassing debut, an Air France Airbus A320 crashed in a Paris Air Show demonstration killing three. As the first 'fly-by-wire' airliner, it came under scrutiny.

Canberra Times, 27 January 1992.

1 July 1988

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) established under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 as a separate body from the Department. The Department of (Civil) Aviation and its predecessors had operated from 1945, but Parliament and the Government determined that separation was now best.


1 July 1988

With the introduction of the BASI Confidential Aviation Incident Reporting system, widespread claims emerged of poor maintenance and inadequate pilot standards.

Australian Financial Review, 7 December 1988.

21 December 1988

Pan Am flight 103 Boeing 747 exploded by an alleged Libyan terrorist device over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 in the air and on the ground. The issue of airline and airport security continued apace, but only in early 2001 was a Libyan convicted for the sabotage, in a Scottish trial.

ibid., 16 May 1989, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 February 2001.

8 January 1989

British Midland Airways Boeing 737 crashed after a fan blade fractured and the crew shut down the wrong engine. Of the 126 people on board, 47 died near East Midlands Airport. Cockpit design emerged as an issue in crashes. In early 1989, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began to permit long-range twinjet flights over the oceans, known as Extended Twin engine Operations (ETOPS) previously restricted to larger craft.

New Scientist, 23 November 1996; Flight International, 1 April 1989.

24 February 1989

United Airlines flight 811 Boeing 747 lost a cargo hatch door and nine passengers after leaving Honolulu for Sydney. In 1999, after checks for explosives or metal fatigue, the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) amended the cause to faulty wiring.

Job, M., Air Disaster 3, April 1999.

3 May 1989

The Minister for Transport and Communications Hon Ralph Willis introduced the Air Navigation Amendment Bill 1989 to vary the means of suspending international airline rights.

House of Representatives Debates, p. 1819.

19 June 1989

United Airlines flight 232 DC-10 crash-landed at Sioux City, Iowa, after an engine fan explosion. Through exceptional handling the crew managed to save 184, while 112 died, in what became a famous case of crew and ground heroism. It also highlighted aircraft maintenance issues.

Job, M., Air Disaster 2, March 1996.

November 1989

The CAA developed an airspace model that rationalised air traffic control (ATC). Meanwhile, after a series of hot air balloon accidents, a consultant Mr Phil Hanson reported to the CAA on measures to regulate balloons and operators.

Age, 6 September 1998; Australian Financial Review, 7 October 1997; CAA Media Release, 20 1990, 4 April 1990; Age, 5 April 1990.

August November 1989

The pilots' dispute between members of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots and major airlines led to serious disruptions and costs to regular air services, with the provision of some flights made by government agencies.

Norington B., Sky Pirates, ABC, 1990.

January 1990

Aviator and entrepreneur Mr Dick Smith appointed Chair of the CAA and promoted an 'affordable safety' policy. He recruited Mr Frank Baldwin from the New Zealand Aviation Authority to restructure the organisation on a district basis, and reduced staff from 7300 down to 3500 over five years. The CAA Chief Executive Mr Colin Freeland and deputy Mr Alan Rainbird both resigned soon after Mr Dick Smith arrived. The Hon Kim Beazley MP became the new Minister for Transport and Communications.

Australian, 16 May 1990; Sydney Morning Herald, 11 June 1990.

February 1990

An Indian Airlines Airbus A320 crashed at Bangalore killing 90. The incident suggested that pilot error and computer malfunction were contributing and intertwined factors and would later become of increased concern.

Canberra Times, 27 January 1992.

11 May 1990

A Cessna Citation 500 crashed at Mareeba killing 11. The Civil Aviation Amendment Act 1990 established the CAA as a government business enterprise. The August 1990 Federal Budget announced that the $73 million contributed towards safety regulation would be phased out in favour of the costs being met by the aviation industry. CAA Chair, Mr Dick Smith said that ways to maximise safety and economy existed.

Senate, Debates, Plane Safe, p.112; Sydney Morning Herald, 11 June 1990 and 11 September 1990.

11 September 1990

Qantas Boeing 747 with 360 aboard missed a USAF C-5 Galaxy plane by a reported 17 metres, while flying over Phuket. The case raised air traffic control clearance issues.

Age and Sydney Morning Herald 14 September 1990.

30 October 1990

The Commonwealth's formalised economic regulation of the domestic airline industry was eliminated with the abolition of the two-airline policy. However, operational and safety regulatory frameworks were retained and a number of the States continued to regulate intrastate services. In December, the operation of Compass Airlines started, to challenge the Australian/Qantas and Ansett airlines duopoly, before the late 1991 demise of Compass.

Transport and Telecommunications Reform Prime Ministerial Statement House Hansard 8 November 1990.

17 December 1990

The Minister for Shipping and Aviation Support, Senator Bob Collins reaffirmed faith in high safety standards when he spoke at the opening of new headquarters for BASI.

Ministerial Media Release 35 1990; Sydney Morning Herald, 4 December 1990.


Airline Deregulation and Australian Air Crashes

A problematic implementation of TAAATS – The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System – led to inquiry and review. The local crashes of Monarch and Seaview Airlines planes also led to inquiries into safety regulation administration, and recriminations. The belly-flop landing of an Ansett 747 was seen as a bad omen for new airline competition. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority and AirServices Australia emerged as new regulators.


26 May 1991

Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand killing 223 after the inadvertent deployment of reverse thrust during flight. The FAA later ordered specific thrust reverser changes. Meanwhile, concerns were growing about the effects of lap-top computers and mobile telephones affecting aircraft systems during flight. The issue of bogus aircraft spare parts was of concern here and overseas.

Mercury, 3 November 1999; Australian, 18 October 1991; Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 1991.

3 March 1991

United Airlines flight 585 Boeing 737 crashed near Colorado Springs killing 25, leading to speculation about the aircraft's rudder design and operation at low speeds.

Australian Financial Review, 23 September 2000.

12 August 1991

A Thai Airways DC-10 overshot a Sydney Airport runway to just miss an incoming Ansett Airbus A320 and a waiting Qantas Boeing 747, controlled under SIMOPS. The 667 people on board the respective aircraft were unharmed.

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 1991 and 3 July 1993. ATSB Occurrence Report, 15 Feb. 1993..

December 1991

The CAA introduced a new Airways Management Air Traffic Services (AMATS) system to a mixed response from pilots.

Australian Financial Review, 19 April 1992; Australian Aviation, 8 1998.

20 January 1992

An Airbus A320 crashed into a mountain near Strasbourg killing 87. This was the third loss of the new fly-by-wire type of aircraft operation in less than four years.

Canberra Times, 27 January 1992.

January 1992

Pressure mounted for an inquiry into the contractor chosen by the CAA for The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS) after Hughes Aerospace missed out. Meanwhile, a study into the air traffic system by a United States safety consultant Dr Robert Ratner Associates found Australia was safe, but with room for improvements, citing 24 recommendations.

Canberra Times, 20 September 1997 and 8 May 1992; Australian Financial Review, 8 May 1992; Canberra Times, 23 November 1991.

18 February 1992

CAA Chairman, Mr Dick Smith stepped down after announcing the best set of aviation safety figures in five years, but frustrated by his inability to introduce affordable safety regulations and to restructure military airspace. As President of the Aircraft Owners' and Pilots' Association, he remained a critic of BASI.

Canberra Times, 18 February 1992; Australian, 23 March 1999.

March 1992

CAA selected Thomson Radar Australia for TAAATS while parliamentarians on both sides of politics criticised the choice. The Minister for Shipping and Aviation Support, Senator Bob Collins reconsidered the choice when Parliament heard of unorthodox processes. In May, he called for a Senate Inquiry before being replaced by Senator Peter Cook, who later announced an independent inquiry chaired by the Honourable Ian Macphee AO. Senator Bob Collins became the new Minister for Transport and Communications.

Canberra Times, 20 September 1997; Age, 20 July 1997.

April 1992

Southern Cross Airlines started, in a bid to challenge the two-airline duopoly, but hardly saw the year out before it failed.

ABC Radio 'The World Today', 10 August 1992.

2 July 1992

An Ansett Saab 340 came to rest in a ditch at Devonport Airport, after a crash landing, due to a propeller problem.

ATSB Occurrence Report,15 Oct. 1994.

4 July 1992

An Ansett Boeing 727 experienced engine failure and a fire on take-off from Brisbane, requiring emergency return.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 15 July 1993.

31 July 1992

Thai Airways Airbus A310 crashed in Nepal, killing 113. Two months later, 167 died there when a PIA Airbus A300 crashed. Automated flight systems came under question.

Australian, 26 October 1993.

14 September 1992

A leaked internal CAA document cited poor management, inadequate internal processes and external influences as rife, while major staff cuts and turnovers continued apace.

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 September 1992.

4 October 1992

El Al flight 1862 Boeing 747 freighter crashed into two tall apartment blocks, after leaving Amsterdam Airport, due to an engine pylon failure. Four crew aboard and 39 on the ground died.

Australian Financial Review, 2 July 1993.

December 1992

The Macphee Independent Review of the Civil Aviation Authority's Tender Evaluation Process for the Australian Advanced Air Traffic System report strongly criticised the CAA Board and senior management over the awarding of a $200 million contract for TAAATS to Thomson of France.

Australian Financial Review, 21 July 1994.

February 1993

CAA Chief Executive, Mr Frank Baldwin resigned after the dispute over the TAAATS contract while senior executive Dr Rob Edwards lost his job.

Australian Financial Review, 7 July 1997.

February 1993

Captain Alan Terrell appointed by the CAA Board to report on the effectiveness of the operations of the Safety Regulation and Standards Division.

Plane Safe report, Aviation Week and Space Technology, 8 March 1993.

30 March 1993

The Terrell Report found that general aviation safety standards had fallen under CAA reforms. The Board later accepted all but one of 59 Report recommendations. Mr Ted Butcher stepped down early as Chairman, to be replaced by General Peter Gration with Mr Doug Roser as Chief Executive.

Australian Financial Review, 21 July1994.

11 June 1993

Monarch Airlines Piper Chieftain crashed near Young NSW killing seven aboard. The subsequent coronial inquiry found that the CAA failed to properly monitor the airline while the NSW Air Transport Council had done nothing to alert its minister about problems with the airline (see also the entries for 20 July 1994 and 6 June 1996).

The Bulletin, 5 September 2000; Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 1996; Canberra Times, 3 June 1994.

29 September 1993

Major Class G airspace management initiative cancelled at the last minute due to industry objections and protests from the former chairman Mr Dick Smith and air traffic controllers.

Australian Aviation, August 1998; Australian Financial Review, 21 July1994; Australian, 1 October 1993; Canberra Times, 30 September 1993; CAA 74/93.

26 October 1993

The Auditor-General's Project Audit into the CAA Centre for Air Traffic Services at Launceston found problems with the ATC centre and valid reasons for its later closure.

Audit Report no. 8 199394, ANAO.

5 December 1993

The Mueller consultant report found a lack of consistent CAA application of safety regulations across Australia.

Canberra Times, 5 December 1993.

7 February 1994

Contract signed for The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS) by CAA with Thomson Radar Australia Corporation and its parent company.

Airservices Australia,

24 April 1994

South Pacific Airmotive DC-3 on Army charter to Norfolk Island ditched into Botany Bay after engine failure with 25 people aboard, who all survived. The resulting BASI report found that it was overloaded, poorly kept and flown. However, its pilot Mr Rod Lovell disputed all these points.

Age, 19 January 1997; Australian, 30 March 1996; Sydney Morning Herald,
5 August 1994.

26 April 1994

China Airlines (of Taiwan) Airbus A300 crashed at Nagoya Japan to claim 279 lives. The airline had previously lost Boeing 737 aircraft in February 1986 and October 1989 with 67 killed in total. A trend of poor Asian airline records continued to concern the industry.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 May 1994.

4 May 1994

Opposition Transport spokesman Mr John Sharp MP labelled Seaview Air as operating dangerously and a passenger risk. The CAA upgraded Seaview's licence from charter to regular public transport operator on 27 July.

Sydney Morning Herald, 8 October 1994.

20 July 1994

The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation report into the Monarch Airlines crash at Young in June 1993 suggested the need for new arrangements in air regulation and funding, due to latent organisational failures and deficiencies within the CAA. The Minister for Transport, the Hon Laurie Brereton MP removed the head of CAA safety Mr George Macionis. He also established an Aviation Safety Agency as a separate entity within the CAA. The CAA remained under Chair General Peter Gration and Mr Doug Roser. The Minister also agreed to a parliamentary inquiry into air safety by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure, headed by the Hon Peter Morris MP, to investigate air safety standards as well as their supervision and compliance. BASI remained under Director Dr Rob Lee.

BASI Investigation Report, 9301743; Minister for Transport News Release, T44/94; Plane Safe.

8 September 1994

USAir flight 427 Boeing 737 flight crashed while approaching Pittsburgh Airport killing 132, after a rudder malfunction. The FAA would much later recommend design changes to 737 rudders for low speed operations. The 737 remained the most common airliner in Australia and now airlines fly them faster on landing approaches.

AAP, 17 April 2000; New Scientist, 4 March 2000; NTSB Press Release, 24 March 1999 SB 9909; Australian Financial Review, 5 October 1999.

2 October 1994

A fatal accident of Seaview Air Rockwell Aero Commander en-route to Lord Howe Island killed nine aboard. On 17 October, the Minister announced a judicial inquiry to be conducted by Sir Lawrence Street into the handling of operations of Seaview Air by the CAA. On 23 December, the Minister announced the appointment of a second commissioner, Mr James Staunton who later replaced Sir Lawrence Street. The Commission of Inquiry into the Relations Between the CAA and Seaview Air commenced on 16 January 1995. The intended reporting date was 31 May 1995, to the Minister for Transport, the Hon Laurie Brereton MP, but the report did not appear until 8 October 1996 (see below) with a new Government and Minister the Hon John Sharp MP. Three other inquiries were conducted through the Parliamentary (Morris) committee, the Federal Police inquiry into dealings between some CAA officers and Seaview, and by the BASI investigation. Some CAA staff were dismissed.

Australian, 8 October 1994, 1 November 1995, 9 October 1996; Aircraft, November 1994; Sydney Morning Herald, 8 October 1994; Age, 8 October 1994.

19 October 1994

Ansett flight 881 Boeing 747 crash-landed onto its nose at Sydney Airport with 274 aboard. The subsequent BASI report questioned Ansett safety procedures and training. In Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Hon Paul Keating MP defended the Minister for Transport over aviation safety matters.

Australian, 20, 21 and 22 October 1994; Sydney Morning Herald, 17 July 1996, 27 September 1996. ATSB Occurrence Report, 18 Sept. 1996.

16 November 1994

The CAA grounded four airlinesSeaview Air, Yanda Airlines, Newcastle Aviation and Uzu Airafter intense surveillance. They were able to resume once deficiencies were rectified. Meanwhile, Qantas Airlink was the subject of media attention on safety concerns. The Parliamentary inquiry into air safety received a submission from a CAA officer claiming that 200 Australian aircraft including commuter planes could lose wings, from structural fatigue.

Minister for Transport, News Release T68/94; Australian Financial Review, 21 October 1994.

3 December 1994

A position paper by the Royal Aeronautical Society titled A Study of the Safety of General Aviation in Australia found unsafe flight practices in light aircraft operations. The CAA Board cleared its Chief Managing Director Mr Doug Roser of any 'impropriety', following allegations of alterations to aviation safety reports about smaller airlines.

Age, 23 March 1995; Australian Financial Review, 5 December 1994; Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 1994.

30 March 1995

The Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill 1995 and Air Services Bill 1995 introduced. Comment was sought from the House committee inquiry on aviation safety.

Minister for Transport News Release T15/95; House of Representatives, Debates, 30 March 1995, p. 2598; Senate Debates, 21 September 1995 p. 1225.

16 April 1995

CAA officers revealed a backlog of approximately 800 manufacturer warnings, apparently one month after the discovery of some 140 airworthiness directives that had not been implemented.

Australian, 28 March 1995, 17 April 1995.

23 May 1995

The Advisory report on the break up of the CAA from the (Morris) House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure contained legislative drafting recommendations to clearly define a proposed rearrangement of the CAA into two aviation safety organisations. On 30 June, a confidential study by former FAA officials recommended that the CAA Act be amended to stop cost recovery applicable to airworthiness.

Canberra Times, 24 May 1995; Australian, 7 October 1995.

9 June 1995

Ansett New Zealand Dash 8 crashed on top of a hill near Wellington killing four and injuring 17. Investigators found that an undercarriage issue distracted the pilots.

Australian, 17 June 1997; AAP, 4 July 1997.

6 July 1995

The combined Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment Act 1995 and Air Services Act 1995 established the rationale and operating arrangements for the creation of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Airservices Australia (ASA) out of the former CAA. ASA became responsible for the delivery of airspace management, control services, aviation search and rescue. In turn, CASA became responsible for the regulation of the aviation industry, licensing of pilots, aircraft certification and the setting of airspace design and safety standards in accordance with the Civil Aviation Safety Act 1988. CAA Chairman, Mr Peter Gibson and chief executive Mr Doug Roser departed when the Minister, the Hon Laurie Brereton MP announced the changes. The new CAA board had Justice William Fisher as Chairman, Mr Leroy Keith as Executive Head, and Dr Clare Pollock, Captain Geoffey Molloy and Ms Gabi Hollows.

House of Representatives, Debates, 7 June 1995, p.1372; Australian Financial Review, 7 October 1997; Minister for Transport News Release, T48/95.

21 September 1995

The Transport Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 1995 proposed changes to the investigative powers of BASI. At the same time, CASA announced the mandatory fitting of Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems to regular passenger transport operators, after a series of near misses and a BASI recommendation. The Transport Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 1995 provided for the transfer of air safety investigation powers of BASI from the Air Navigation Regulations to the Air Navigation Act 1920.

Senate Debates, 21 September 1995, p. 1235; Australian, 7, 20 and 23 September 1995.

November 1995

Controversy surrounded the safety of operation of cross or parallel runways at Sydney Airport in conjunction with aircraft noise measures. Parliamentarians on both sides of politics made claims, but it appeared that either means of runway operations was safe.

Australian Aviation, September 1995; Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 1998.

7 December 1995

Class G airspace trial introduced to replace the previous low level uncontrolled airspace. The Air Navigation Act 1920 was amended to better define the role of BASI to investigate accidents, serious incidents and deficiencies.

House of Representatives, Debates, 28 November 1995, p. 3945.

14 December 1995

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure produced the Plane Safe Inquiry into Aviation Safety: the Commuter and General Aviation Sectors report that concentrated on the regulation of a competitive aviation industry by an organisation in conflict, CASA. It said that a combination of poor management and internal battles were counter-productive to aviation safety over the period since 1988. The report contained an extensive set of recommendations pertaining to the operation of CASA and the need for promulgated safety statistics. The Government Response of 5 December 1996 largely agreed with the recommendations and noted work on aviation safety indicators and the creation of an independent advisory panel to review regulations. On the whole, it would seem that the recommendations were implemented, in terms of subsequent reports issued by CASA, the Program Advisory Panel (Kimpton inquiry) and other agencies, as detailed below. Note that a change of government and ministers occurred on 11 March 1996.

Media Release Peter Morris MHR, 23 February 1996; Canberra Times, 24 December 1995; Australian,
22 December 1995.

20 December 1995

American Airlines flight 965 Boeing 757 crashed into the Columbian Andean mountains after the crew became disorientated, killing 159 of 163 aboard. Crew resource management and flight automation remained of concern.

Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9 September 1996, 29 September 1997.


Ageing Aircraft and CASA Conflicts

Airline fleet age became an issue of industry concern along with the crash rate of certain Asian airlines. Reviews of CASA and its board and staff re-shuffles continued with some publicly acrimonious disputes. With Dick Smith at the helm, a new CASA emerged to champion a Class G airspace trial that later had to be discontinued amid industry concerns. After this, and the crashes of Aquatic Air and Uzu planes, he resigned.


28 February 1996

Alas Nacionales flight 301 Boeing 757 crashed into the sea off Dominica, killing 189.

AAP, 1 March 1996.

April 1996

CASA board members rejected calls for their resignations from the new Minister for Transport and Regional Development, the Hon John Sharp MP.

Australian, 20 April 1996, 10 July 1997.

11 May 1996

ValuJet flight 592 DC-9 crashed into the Florida Everglades killing 110, after a fire on-board. In response to criticism of the airline and itself, the FAA brought in tougher measures for airline inspections.

Australian, 15 May 96; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 25 August 1997.

6 June 1996

NSW Coroner John Gould handed down findings into the 1993 Monarch Airlines crash critical of the airline, the former CAA and the NSW Air Transport Council. The Minister (Mr John Sharp) foreshadowed a review and other actions to address the report's recommendations.

Canberra Times, 7 June 1996; Minister for Transport Media Statement, 6 June 1996 TR46/96.

25 June 1996

The Minister for Transport and Regional Development, the Hon John Sharp MP announced reviews of the regulatory framework and role in an aviation safety ministerial statement. He also introduced the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1996 to increase the CASA Board size from four to six people. While the Opposition supported the Bill, it questioned the motives.

House of Representatives, Debates, 25 June 1996, p. 2653.

17 July 1996

TWA flight 800 Boeing 747 exploded at cruise level, after leaving New York, killing all 230 aboard. Investigations would prove controversial, suggesting factors of aged wiring failure causing a short circuit explosion in the fuel tanks. Other lay explanations suggested electromagnetic radiation in the flight corridor or even a meteorite strike. The investigation was the most lengthy and costly ever undertaken by the NTSB. The FAA later issued 40 actions on fuel tank safety but the issue of aged aircraft wiring would continue to cause concern.

Engineering World, October 2000; Commentary, May 2001.

26 September 1996

The Minister for Transport and Regional Development announced an industry-based panel to oversee the CASA regulatory review headed by Ansett's Mr James Kimpton. The review produced recommendations that could be implemented in 1998, while reporting monthly. Industry consultations continued throughout.

Minister for Transport Media Statement 20 and 26 September 1996, TR101 and 110/96.

8 October 1996

The (Staunton) Report of the Commissioner of the Commission of Inquiry into the Relations Between the CAA and Seaview Air was particularly scathing of CAA operations and identified a number of systemic problems. Recommendations included action against two CAA officers, and suggested mechanisms for responsibility, accountability and documentation. The minister urged changes to CASA and its management board positions. BASI undertook a separate investigation of the incident.

House of Representatives, Debates, 8 and 9 October 1996, p. 5046; Sydney Morning Herald and Australian 9 October 1996.

10 October 1996

The CASA Board released a media statement in relation to certain findings of the Seaview inquiry and lamenting comments about it made by the minister in Parliament.

Australian, 12 October 1996; Sydney Morning Herald, 10 October 1996.

30 October 1996

A large newspaper advertisement with 512 listed names published, later found to be sponsored by the Aircraft Owners' and Pilots' Association, requested the CASA board members to stand aside. It followed the publication of a letter by the CASA Chairman stating why the board should remain in full control despite Ministerial denigration. Meanwhile, CASA developed a program known as Airspace 2000 planned for introduction in 1998. The scheme aimed to achieve an ICAO standard with the use of systems safety, harmonisation and staged delivery.

Australian, 21, 23, 25 and 30 October 1996; Canberra Times, 23 and 31 October 1996.

3 November 1996

Falcon Airlines plane crashed into the sea off Cairns with the occupants safely reaching the shore. The subsequent report by David Wheelahan QC found a possible conflict of interest between CASA, the airline and Minister John Sharp. The Minister had sought an independent report after stating that a response from CASA was inadequate.

AAP, 18 February 1997; Canberra Times, 8 November 1996.

13 November 1996

350 people died when a Saudi Arabia Airlines Boeing 747 collided with a Kazak freighter over India. The event highlighted local concerns over ATC standards.

Associated Press 13 November 1996.

19 November 1996

Concerns expressed in the letter of resignation of the CASA Director of Aviation Medicine Dr Robert Liddell, caused the Minister to ask the Board to reconsider safety.

Minister for Transport, Media Statement TR152/96; Age, 27 November 1996.

5 December 1996

Government response to the Plane Safe report tabled by the Minister for Transport and Regional Development the Hon John Sharp MP. (Refer to 14 December 1995). It included a monthly CASA update on safety breaches. The Senate decided to investigate the purchase of Australia's new search and rescue equipment after faults were found.

Minister for Transport, Media Statement TR167/96; Australian, 6 and 9 December 1996; Age 6 December 1996.

February 1997

Vigorous debates in Parliament regarding CASA Board placements by Transport Minister John Sharp, who continued his criticism of the CASA Board in response to the Wheelahan report and Kimpton inquiry.

Australian, 13, 15 and 17 February 1997.

March 1997

CASA controversy continued with the Report on the Purchase of the Precision Aerial Delivery Systems (PADS) by Airservices Australia by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee in March 1997. The report urged the Government to request CASA to address problems highlighted in a report completed by Turtleair regarding search and rescue practices. The June 1997 Government Response to the committee report indicated that resolution of the matters was in hand.

Canberra Times, 14 May 1997.

19 March 1997

Parliament debated the Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 1997 to allow for environmental standards at airports and establish a register of encumbered aircraft.

House of Representatives, Debates p. 1834.

6 May 1997

After new legislation expanded the CASA board to seven positions, Mr Dick Smith was appointed CASA Deputy Chairman under Chairman Justice William Fischer. Mr Laurence Foley joined the board. In June, Ms Gabi Hollows and Captain Molloy retired to be replaced by Dr Paul Scully-Power and Mr Bruce Byron.

Australian, 10 July 1997.

1 July 1997

Aviation search and rescue responsibilities were transferred from ASA to Australian Search and Rescue (AusSAR) within the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). The Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1997 was debated and covered airport security and passenger compensation issues.

House of Representatives, Debates, p. 5552, 18 June 1997.

6 August 1997

Korean Air flight 801 Boeing 747 crashed into terrain on approach to Guam Airport killing 228 of 254 aboard. The NTSB later attributed the crash to crew error and training, factors apparent in later events for the airline.

Aviation Week and Space Technology, 1 November 1999.

26 August 1997

Broderick/Willoughby report into the relationship between the Director of Aviation Safety and the CASA Board made recommendations on corporate governance.

House of Representatives, Debates, p. 2288, 12 October 2000.

12 September 1997

CASA also considered the Airspace 2000 proposal of Mr Dick Smith, but deferred it for a year, following lengthy aviation industry objections, even though ASA had approved it on 4 April for implementation on 4 December.

Australian Aviation, October 1997; BP10/98, NPRM 9701RP.

26 September 1997

CASA Director Mr Leroy Keith left after the Board passed a no-confidence motion in his management strategy. Chairman Justice William Fischer and member Dr Clare Pollock both resigned in protest at the Board's handling of the former Director. The New Minister for Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Mark Vaile MP, replaced Mr John Sharp.

Australian Financial Review, 26 September 1997, 7 October 1997.

26 September 1997

Garuda Indonesian Airways flight 152 Airbus A300 crashed on approach to Medan airport killing 234 persons. Prior to this event, Garuda had 28 major accidents with 197 fatalities in nine cases.

Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6 October 1997; Australian Financial Review, 21 February 1998.

9 October 1997

CASA produced Systems for Safety: Reviewing Systems in Civil Aviation Safety. This was a report on the safety standards of charter and low-capacity regular passenger transport operators and followed on the concerns expressed in the Plane Safe report. The report's 22 recommendations had accompanying implementation actions and timeframes to be followed. The Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill 1997 introduced in October aimed to simplify the continuous passenger liability insurance arrangements.

CASA Public Report; Australian Aviation August 1998.

28 November 1997

A Report to the Minister of Transport and Regional Development from the Program Advisory Panel regarding its oversight of the CASA Regulatory Framework and Regulatory Role Programs in the CASA Reviews noted substantial outcomes in respect of draft rules and standards since 1996. This independent (Kimpton) panel foresaw continued consultation and regulatory review ahead, while noting that the Regulatory Framework Program would ensure implementation of the Plane Safe recommendations, as well as aspects of the Seaview Commission in line with international standards.

Australian Aviation, November 1997.

19 December 1997

Singapore Airlines subsidiary Silk Air flight MI185 Boeing 737-300 crashed in Indonesia killing all 104 aboard. Subsequent United States NTSB investigations suggested a cause of pilot suicide, but separately, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) would not agree. In 2004, A US court found against the rudder manufacturer Parker Hannifin to pay damages to relatives of the dead.

Sydney Morning Herald, 16 December 2000. AAP, 9 July 2004.

Macarthur Job, ‘Final Flight: Silk Air MI 185’, Flight Safety Australia, Jan-Feb 2008, pp. 28–25.

24 December 1997

Mr Dick Smith appointed as Chairman of CASA and went on to centralise the authority and close some district offices. Dr Paul Scully-Power became Deputy Chairman, and Mr Michael Ryan and Mr Tony Pyne joined the Board. On 28 August 1998, Ms Janine Shepherd joined the Board.

Age, 6 September 1998.

16 February 1998

China Airlines flight CI 676 Airbus A300 crashed at Taipei Airport killing 203 people. The crash was later attributed to pilot error. Training was said not to have improved since a similar crash in 1994.

Flight International, 22 July 1998, p. 31.

February 1998

BASI produced a Review of Airservices Australia's Team Operations in Air Traffic Control and Flight Services. As was normal with all BASI investigations, it identified any major safety deficiencies and provided a Safety Advisory Notice for appropriate action. Meanwhile, the privatisation of ATC services became an issue.

BASI Report; Australian Financial Review, 16 June 1998.

26 February 1998

CASA, through ASA, introduced a radar-controlled Class E airspace trial, to replace Class G for six months. It required transponders to be fitted to all aircraft using the region.

Australian, 27 March 1998; CASA, 28 August 1997.

15 April 1998

CASA proposed changes to its charging system, reducing aviation fuel duty while imposing fee for service charges.

CASA Discussion Paper.

6 May 1998

Aquatic Air licence suspended by CASA for 13 days.

Australian Aviation, September 1998.

27 May 1998

Clear air turbulence experienced by a Boeing 747 en route from Kansei to Brisbane injured 17 aboard the aircraft.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 4 May 1999.

1 July 1998

The Minister for Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Mark Vaile MP introduced the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1998 to implement the Regulatory Framework reform Program.

House of Representatives, Debates, 1 July 1998, p. 5543.

2 July 1998

Airline Passenger Safety Association Inc was launched. It consisted of a number of individuals interested in promoting the safety-related interests of airline passengers on a national basis.

Minister for Transport News Release.

26 July 1998

Aquatic Air, trading as South Pacific Seaplanes, Cessna 185E seaplane crashed at Berowra Waters NSW killing five people. CASA came under fire for failing to ground it, having lifted a suspension for previous infringements 17 days prior to the crash. Mr Laurie Foley was appointed as CASA's assistant director of compliance by the Chairman Mr Dick Smith and led an inquiry into the crash, despite external criticism of a conflict of interest. CASA suspended the three most senior NSW officials and warned that over 10 per cent of local operators could lose permits.

Australian, 23 March 1999; Age, 6 September 1998; Sydney Morning Herald, 29 July 1998.

August 1998

After several reported incidents, BASI reported on Systemic Investigation into Factors Underlying Air Safety Occurrences in Sydney Terminal Area Airspace. The report contained nine safety recommendations for ASA and CASA, noting some confusion between their respective roles and responsibilities. The report suggested that political meddling in the ATC procedures in airspace above Sydney Airport, aimed at more evenly distributing noise pollution, had significantly reduced safety margins. As well, ATC staff were tired by constant changes. Meanwhile ASA held discussions with several companies about privatising ATC services, including fire-fighting, while the Labor Opposition vowed to oppose the plan.

BASI Air Safety Investigation Report B98 1990; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 7 September 1998; Australian, 20 August 1998.

2 September 1998

Swissair flight 111 MD-11 airliner crashed after leaving New York. All 229 people aboard were killed following a cockpit fire under mysterious circumstances, later traced to the entertainment system and thought likely to be a wiring fault. Aircraft wiring became a major air safety issue.

Australian, 4 September 1998, AAP, 28 March 2003.

October 1998

The Review of the Regulation by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Aquatic Air Pty Ltd trading as South Pacific Seaplanes; prepared by Mr Stephen Skehill, of October 1998 followed the fatal Aquatic Air crash north of Sydney in July. The report (released 18 February 1999) found that a small number of CASA actions were defective and not preferable although not improper, including non-suspension of Aquatic Air. The CASA Actions arising from the Skehill Report dated 1 February 1999 detailed a specific list of responses to the findings.

Canberra Times, 9 October 1999.

22 October 1998

The Airspace 2000 Class G airspace trial commenced between Canberra and Ballina amid concerns expressed by pilots, ATC staff and others. In early November, Qantas acted to stop flights into four regional centres until CASA made some changes. After receipt of over 70 air safety incident reports and a BASI investigation of two of them, CASA terminated the trial on 13 December 1998, noting that much had been learned. The interim BASI report found ten major safety concerns. The BASI investigation had required BASI to access CASA files, much to the chagrin of Chairman Mr Dick Smith, who had strongly championed the trial.

Australian Aviation, January and February 1999; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 1 March 1999; Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 1998.

11 November 1998

Kendall Airlines Saab 340A aircraft rolled over and dived 700 metres in icy conditions on an Albury to Melbourne flight with 31 aboard. The crew recovered control and landed safely. The subsequent investigation found a need for modified stall warning systems on this type of aircraft for icing conditions. (See also entry for 28 June 2002).

Australian, 8 December 1998, 22 June 1999, 25 May 2001; ATSB investigation VH-LPI.

8 December 1998

CASA grounded Coral Sea Airlines after one of its aircraft ditched, on 21 October, some 400 metres short of Horn Island, in Torres Strait.

Australian, 9 December 1998.

9 December 1998

The new Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP re-introduced the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1998 to the House. The Bill was said to facilitate the findings of the review of civil aviation legislation and the Plane Safe and Seaview Air inquiries reports. The aborted Class G airspace trial became the subject of a Matter of Public Importance in the House debate. The Senate continued to monitor air safety by questions and through its committee.

House of Representatives, Debates, 9 December 1998, p.1254.

22 December 1998

A separate Review of Roles and Responsibilities for the Regulation, Design and Management of Australian Airspace (The Hawke Report) concluded. It defined an airspace management regime, by agreement between ASA, CASA, BASI and Government but was not publicly released until later (Also see entry for 4 November 1999).


January 1999

Uzu Air Britten-Norman Islander aircraft crashed in Torres Strait killing three people, twelve days after a CASA grounding warning and a total grounding in 1994 due to safety concerns.

The Bulletin, 5 September 2000.

20 January 1999

CASA released an independent (Pearce) report into how it handled a serious air safety complaint in 1996. CASA Chairman Mr Dick Smith referred the matter to the Federal Police. Later, a CASA participation for safety program was announced to centralise aviation safety compliance functions, but with field staff to be given more freedom for taking action.

Minister for Transport, Media Release 20 January 1999; Canberra Times, 21 January 1999.

9 February 1999

The Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP released the terms of reference for an independent review of BASI, following the reviews of CASA and ASA. The ASA review, completed in March 1998 was not released. The Opposition renewed its call for an inquiry into CASA operations. The Minister stated that he saw no need for another review but reports of unrest continued in the aviation safety bureaucracy, along with a charge of cronyism made against BASI by the CASA Chairman Mr Dick Smith.

Minister for Transport, Media Release 9 February 1999; Senate, Debate Question 171; p. Canberra Times 12 February 1999.

18 February 1999

The Review of the Regulation by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Aquatic Air Pty Ltd trading as South Pacific Seaplanes prepared by Mr Stephen Skehill, dated October 1998 released by the Minister for Transport and Regional Services. It followed the fatal Aquatic Air crash north of Sydney in July 1998. The report found that a small number of CASA transactions were defective and not preferable, although not improper, including non-suspension of Aquatic Air. The CASA Actions arising from the Skehill Report dated 1 February 1999 detailed a specific list of responses to the findings. CASA Chairman, Mr Dick Smith reported as believing that the Skehill report showed the existence of deficiencies continuing at CASA.

Canberra Times, 19 February 1999, 9 October 1999; Bulletin, 13 June 2000.

12 March 1999

In an accident at Melbourne Airport, an Ansett Boeing 737 experienced failure of wing and landing components, due to stress corrosion. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

ATSB Investigation Report, 8 Oct. 2001.

22 March 1999

CASA Chairman Mr Dick Smith resigned amid allegations of collusion between the CASA board and airlines over the Class G airspace trial. The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee announced an inquiry into Airspace 2000 and related issues including BAe 146 aircraft fumes. The subsequent hearings revealed many issues in air safety and daily concerns.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1 April 2000; Australian, 27 and 30 March 1999. ATSB Occurrence Brief, 6 September 1999.

24 March 1999

Consequent to the El Al Amsterdam disaster, the Damage by Aircraft Bill 1999 was introduced to Parliament and passed to provide for increased compensation. Some Civil Aviation Regulation amendments relating to the privatisation of ATC and fire-fighting services were disallowed in the Senate, as the Opposition foreshadowed.

House of Representatives, Debates, 24 March 1999; Senate, Debates, 8 March 1999.

15 April 1999

Korean Air Cargo MD-11 plane crashed in China killing eight, raising continued concerns about the airline's management.

Age, 11 May 1999.

Mid 1999–mid 2002

New Beginnings, 9/11 and the Demise of Ansett

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau began along with new charter letters for ASA and CASA. A Qantas 747 did a belly-flop at Bangkok and another tipped over at Rome, before the Whyalla Airlines crash. TAAATS and Virgin Blue began regular operations. The Christmas Eve 2000 and later Easter 2001 grounding of Ansett aircraft spelt the beginning of the end for the embattled operator, while CASA and ATSB bickered.


25 June 1999

A software glitch in the new TAAATS system shut down ATC over Brisbane for seven minutes. ASA claimed later to have fixed it. ASA had joined a consortium bidding to update the FAA's United States ATC systems.

AAP, 16 July 1999.

29 June 1999

Dr Paul Scully-Power appointed as CASA Chairman. He announced a reform program and rewriting of the aviation regulations with a new regulatory services division.

Deputy PM Mr J Anderson, Media Release, 29 June 1999.

19 July 1999

A BASI report on regional air travel raised issues of wide concern. A separate House of Representatives Committee Inquiry into managing fatigue received submissions from aircraft engineers who complained of excessive working hours that resulted in mistakes.

Canberra Times 19 July 1999, 22 July 1999, 5 August 1999 and 13 August 1999.

6 August 1999

The (McGrath) Review of the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation found an effective and respected air accident investigation organisation. However, the report contained 58 recommendations for action. In response, the Government merged BASI with road and maritime safety agencies into a single agency, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). There was a call for the ATSB to not report to the Minister for Transport, but another Minister or entity, in order to ensure its complete independence. BASI Director, Dr Rob Lee departed.

Deputy PM Mr J Anderson, Media Release. 6 August 1999.

August 1999

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) completed a Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program of Australia between 9 and 20 August 1999. CASA developed an Action Plan to address the 16 recommendations. Although the ICAO audit found an adequate comprehensive regulatory system with no significant safety deficiencies, it did note the reorganisation and policy challenges facing CASA. In June 2001, it emerged that three recommendations were not accepted by CASA.

Minister for Transport, Media Release, 11 May 2000 A69/2000; House of Representatives, Debates, 7 June 2001, question no. 2212, p. 26409.

22 August 1999

China Airlines lost a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 at Hong Kong Airport, when it flipped, killing three, during a severe storm. The pilot was criticised for ignoring standards.

China Airlines News Archive.

2 September 1999

In a second attempted landing, during severe weather at Perth Airport, a Boeing 747 engine pod struck the ground.

ATSB Investigation Report, 2 March 2000.

23 September 1999

A serious accident occurred with a Qantas Boeing 747 aircraft landing at Bangkok Airport, Thailand in wet weather, when it overshot the runway and came to rest on a golf course. While some passengers received minor injuries the aircraft required major repairs at a reported total of $100 million. The subsequent ATSB investigation cited contributing factors stemming from airline operating procedures and management as well as the need for CASA to adopt systems safety auditing. The ATSB was also critical of actions of crew on board after the accident, which led to a long delay in allowing passengers to exit. A CASA Board member, Mr Michael Ryan, of Consolidated Press Holdings corporate air fleet was aboard with 410 others.

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 November 1999; Minister for Transport, Media Release A57/01; CASA, MR0022, 25 April 2001; ATSB Media Release, 25 April 2001; ATSB Investigation Report, 199904538, 26 April 2001.

30 September 1999

The Senate forced the tabling of a report by Mr Stephen Skehill on the appointment of a CASA Board member, Mr Laurie Foley, as Assistant Director Aviation Safety Compliance. This (second) Skehill investigation into CASA corporate governance cleared Mr Laurie Foley over selection processes.

Senate, Debates, p. 9309.

31 October 1999

Egyptair Boeing 767 crashed after leaving New York, killing all 217 aboard leading to considerable speculation on the cause, given that it was the third major disaster in the same corridor in less than four years. A claim of pilot suicide appeared to gain the greatest credibility, although contested by his relatives and the airline.

Australian Financial Review,
21 August 2000.

4 November 1999

The Minister for Transport and Regional Services released a policy statementA Measured Approach to Aviation Safety Reform, along with new charter letters for ASA and CASA, following the Hawke report (Also see entry for 22 December 1998). The statement indicated that airspace design, declaration and management would remain with ASA while CASA would retain responsibility for minimum airspace standards and operating procedures. The Minister also sought resolution of experimental and sports aviation, education and ATC matters. Meanwhile ASA settled in secret the TAAATS contract dispute with Hughes Corporation.

Canberra Times, 7 November 1999 and 10 November 1999.

9 November 1999

ASA was awarded the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 'Eagle Award' as a world leader in the provision of air navigation services. After much work, the air safety system would pass through the Year 2000 'millennium bug' barrier without incident, amid reports of contaminated fuel in planes.

Minister for Transport, Speech AS20/99.

22 November 1999

The ATSB Systemic Investigation into the Class G Airspace Demonstration report found several major safety deficiencies in airspace management. CASA stated its acceptance of the BASI recommendations following termination of the trial period and the view that CASA's previous role in airspace reform was in conflict with its role as the safety regulator. The ATSB report was also critical of the previous CASA Chairman Mr Dick Smith, while he in turn accused ATSB of being captive to union and airline interests in order to thwart efficient change. The ATSB also noted that the trial did provide information for future planning.

ATSB Investigation Report B98/166; Canberra Times, 24 November 1999; Australian, 26 November 1999.

23 November 1999

The Australian National Audit Office reported on Aviation Safety Compliance by CASA in response to a recommendation in the Plane Safe report. While finding a competent agency, the report noted continuing turmoil within CASA that warranted stable management processes. CASA agreed with all of the 13 recommendations relating to safety targets and corporate plans so that procedures and documentation adhere to regulations. The audit also noted that CASA had no 199899 corporate plans.

Audit Report No. 19 1999-2000 Performance Audit, ANAO; Deputy PM Media Release.

January 2000

Contaminated aviation gasoline fuel (avgas), created by a temporary variation at the Mobil refinery, led to the grounding of general aviation aircraft for inspection, following CASA action in late 1999. The subsequent ATSB report noted inadequate international standards for avgas. Mobil subsequently paid over $17.6 million in compensation to over 4000 claimants, to avoid a class action.

The Australian, 31 March 2001; Australian Aviation, March 2000.

30 January 2000

An Alaska Airlines MD-83 crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Los Angeles killing 88, after a stabiliser failure. After take-off at the Ivory Coast, a Kenya Airways Airbus A310 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 169 of 179 aboard.

Air Safety Online Crash Database: http://www.crashdatabase.com/

16 February 2000

Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1998 was finally passed by the Senate. The Bill provided for harmonised and changed regulations.

Senate, Debates, p. 11835.

18 February 2000

The Federal Government appointed a new consultative body, the Aviation Safety Forum (ASF). It was to provide strategic advice to CASA on matters of cultural change, cost structures, the Regulatory Reform Plan and policy aspects and, serve as a link to industry interests.

Deputy PM speech notes.

1 March 2000

After a nine-year gestation, TAAATS was officially commissioned. The delay was in part due to litigation by one of the five unsuccessful contract bidders, Hughes Corporation. Final cost estimate was $377.5 million for completion by the Thomson-CSF company. TAAATS would win a number of international and local awards and become recognised as one of the most advanced air traffic control systems in the world. However, some early glitches and power failures, at Sydney Airport on 6 July and 1 August, tested both ATC and TAAATS.

Australian Aviation, May 2000.

23 March 2000

The Aviation Safety Foundation Australia launched an aviation industry code of best practice containing a set of guidelines for excellence in operating standards.

Deputy PM Media Release.

April 2000

The Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2000, later to become (No. 1) 2001, proposed after a review of civil aviation legislation by CASA. The Bill sought to facilitate the ongoing review of civil aviation regulations in line with ICAO standards. The Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2000 aimed to liberalise restrictions on airline ownership and increase penalties for breaches of the Sydney Airport curfew.

House of Representatives, Debates, 12 April 2000, p. 15754.

22 April 2000

An accident with a Qantas Boeing 747 aircraft occurred at Rome Airport Italy. While taxiing with 317 aboard, a strut failed. A reconditioned wing strut was declared a contributing factor.

Age, 15 June 2000.

11 May 2000

ICAO concluded that Australia's air safety system was generally satisfactory after a safety audit of CASA found 16 action points. This followed Senate Estimates Committee hearings in which allegations emerged of wastage of CASA information technology resources.

Deputy PM Media Release.

31 May 2000

Whyalla Airlines Piper Navajo Chieftain aircraft flight 904 crashed in Spencer Gulf, South Australia, with eight dead. It led to further claims of inadequate air safety regulation. CASA later grounded the airline after a suspension hearing in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Australian, 1 August 2000.

8 June 2000

An Ansett A320 and a Qantas Boeing 767 passed within a reported mile of each other over Alice Springs, after a traffic and collision avoidance system alert. As a result, ASA stood some staff down. Meanwhile in June, Impulse Airlines expanded domestic operations to challenge the incumbent domestic airline duopoly of Qantas and Ansett.

Australian, 15 June 2000, 25 May 2001. ATSB Investigation Report, 8 May 2001.

21 June 2000

CASA announced a rewriting of aviation maintenance regulations which would later take place over a four-year period. Subsequent introduction of regulatory changes proved controversial and not always successful, according to reports.

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 June 2000.

25 July 2000

An Air France Concorde crashed after take-off from Charles de Gaulle Airport killing 113 people. The cause was attributed to damage resulting from the ingestion of debris on the runway but also was linked to poor design and maintenance factors.

Canberra Times, 27 July 2000; Intelligence Newsletter, no. 402 23 March 2001.

25 August 2000

Gulf Air Airbus 320 crashed in the sea off Bahrain killing 143 after a go-around. Meanwhile, Virgin Blue Airlines commenced operations in Australia to challenge the dominance of Qantas, Ansett and Impulse Airlines.

Australian, 1 September 2000.

5 September 2000

A Beechcraft Super King Air plane crashed while pilot-less, when all eight aboard had earlier suffocated, after depressurisation. The ATSB had previously recommended mandatory audible depressurisation alarms but CASA did not follow up this action until the next year.

The Australian, 13 October 2000; Canberra Times, 8 February 2001.

11 October 2000

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee reported on the Administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Matters related to Arcas Airways. The inquiry concerned the concealment of unofficial aircraft defect records and led to recommendations for legal prosecutions and creation of a new Director of Aviation Safety within CASA. CASA responded by taking action on the recommendations and demoted its head of aviation compliance Mr Laurence Foley.

CASA Media Release, 12 October 2000.

12 October 2000

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee reported on Air Safety and Cabin Air Quality in the BAe 146 Aircraft following many reported cases of fumes. A history of such events and related factors was examined with resulting recommendations for national standards for air flows. CASA later issued a directive for the grounding of any Australian BAe 146 aircraft with cabin fumes. However, the aircrafts British makers rejected the findings.

Australian Financial Review, 13 October 2000.

27 October 2000

An Ansett Boeing 747 encountered severe turbulence near Guam, causing injury to two passengers.

ATSB Investigation Report, 28 May 2001.

31 October 2000

Singapore Airlines flight SQ006 Boeing 747 crashed while attempting to leave Taipei Airport during a typhoon. Later investigation revealed that the plane used a runway that was closed for construction and struck ground objects. 83 persons aboard the jetliner died.

Australian, 1617 December 2001.

1 November 2000

CASA Director Mr Mick Toller came in for continued criticism over breaching air laws during personal flights. He received counselling about the incidents but remained in his position. The CASA Chair, Dr Paul Scully-Power also came under scrutiny over his incorrectly alleged status as a fighter pilot and astronaut. He was a private pilot and payload scientist.

Canberra Times, 1 November 2000.

1 November 2000

China Eastern Airlines Airbus A340-300, with a hydraulic leak, skidded off a runway while landing at Sydney Airport. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November 2000.

22 December 2000

Just prior to Christmas, Ansett grounded seven of its Boeing 767 aircraft after an employee discovered that required inspections had not occurred in March. The mandatory inspections were performed with CASA supervision. A Boeing Alert Service Bulletin was then rediscovered (but did not become public until April 2001). Hairline cracks were discovered in the horizontal tail surfaces of some aircraft. Cracks were then found in the engine pylon mounts of three aircraft along with a crack in the tail of one that remained grounded after Christmas. These were similar to those that doomed the El Al Cargo Boeing 747 (see entry for 4 October 1992). CASA placed conditions on Ansett operations and maintenance procedures, although it emerged that CASA had granted Ansett an extension for inspections a year previously. CASA had adopted a new systems audit approach to apply management programs to airlines. The ATSB also investigated the groundings and compliance of CASA, Boeing and Ansett as a safety deficiency issue.

Australian Financial Review, 17 April 2001; Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2001; Australia Aviation 6/01 (Ansett Chronology).

18 January 2001

In a serious incident, a Boeing 737 encountered severe microburst windshear while going around at Brisbane.

ATSB Media Release, 20 Sep 2002.

30 January 2001

At Melbourne Airport, an Emirates Boeing 777-300 aborted take-off as a result of a loud, left engine failure.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 12 Feb 02.

22 February 2001

The Director of Aviation Safety at CASA, Mr Mick Toller, stated that it was twice as safe to fly on a scheduled airline flight in Australia, than in Europe or North America. The Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2001 passed to provide minor technical amendments to existing legislation.

The Australian, 22 February 2001.

3 March 2001

Fire destroyed a Thai Airways International Boeing 737-400 after it exploded while at the Bangkok Airport Terminal, killing a flight attendant and injuring seven other people, shortly before the Thai Prime Minister was due to board. The event was linked by Boeing to empty centre fuel tank pumps and the need to follow proper operating procedures, mindful of the infamous TWA loss.

Australian Aviation, 6/01.

7 March 2001

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mr John Anderson, described Australia's air safety record as outstanding, noting that Ansett was the second safest airline in the world and Qantas the third. He appointed Air Vice Marshall Neil Smith to the CASA Board.

House of Representatives, Debates, Question Time, p. 25275.

5 April 2001

Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee concluded an extended inquiry into the impact of airspace management, ASA services, and aspects of air safety. The report noted the criticisms of the Airspace 2000 model, location specific pricing of terminal navigation and firefighting services as leading to increasing costs for regional aviation. The report generally called for more study into these matters. The Inquiry later continued on to CASA's Administration of Air Operator Maintenance, Regulation and Oversight functions as well as CASA's oversight and auditing of Ansett's maintenance regimes. A leaked internal audit report suggested that CASA had not improved since the 1999 Auditor General's report. The Opposition called for the next Australian National Audit Office review of CASA to be brought forward.

Airspace 2000 and Related Issues; Australian Aviation 6/01.

12 April 2001

Just prior to Easter, CASA grounded ten of Ansett's Boeing 767 aircraft after one was found to be flying with an inoperable emergency slide. The continuing problems were said to reflect a lack of control and alleged deficiencies in CASA's surveillance perhaps due to cost cutting and staff cutbacks. CASA threatened Ansett with withdrawal of its Air Operators Certificate by 20 April 2001. See also ATSB Occurrence Detail #200101606.

Canberra Times, 17 and 22 April 2001. Aviation Week and Space Technology, 23 April 2001. Australian Financial Review, 18 April 2001. Australian Aviation, 6/01.

20 April 2001

CASA accepted Ansett's plans for changes to its maintenance and operational areas. Ansett embarked on a major media campaign as its grounded aircraft began to return to the air, just as leaked photographs of cracked pylons appeared in the press.

CASA MR0121, Courier Mail, 21 April 2001.

2 May 2001

Qantas announced a takeover of Impulse Airlines operations. Late in the month, it also announced a bid for a stake in Air New Zealand which in turn might have divested itself of a stake in Ansett; the latter the subject of possible investment interest by Singapore Airlines.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 May 2001.

7 May 2001

CASA and ATSB in dispute over the latter's investigation into the former's grounding of Ansett planes. The Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP counselled both organisations.

Canberra Times, 8 May 2001.

24 May 2001

CASA announced a new penalty regime for minor safety breaches, while the Federal Budget gave it an extra allocation of $24.2 million for aviation safety compliance.

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2001. Canberra Times, 25 May 2001.

25 May 2001

Further disruption to Ansett operations when three Boeing 767 aircraft and a Boeing 737 were temporarily grounded for minor repairs.

Australian, 26 May 2001.

31 May 2001

Release of the Tom Sherman (consultant) report to CASA into two incidents involving the CASA Director of Aviation Safety Mr Mick Toller. The report cleared Mr Toller of any criminal actions, stating that counselling was sufficient. He was re-appointed for another three-year term, while the CASA Chairman, Dr Paul Scully-Power, retired to be replaced by Mr Ted Anson, then Chairman of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The Opposition criticised both appointments. The Government asked Mr Anson to consider the existing CASA Board structure and to report in 2002 on whether it is appropriate for safety regulation to be a statutory authority.

Minister for Transport, Media Release A75/01, A78/2001.

6 June 2001

The FAA announced a US$11.5 billion, 10year plan to modernise ATC by greater use of modern space-based satellite communications systems.

National Public Radio News.

7 June 2001

The Auditor-General reported on Air Traffic Data Collection by ASA. The audit found some problems with manual data at smaller airports that ASA agreed to address.

ANAO Audit Report no. 48, 200001.

12 June 2001

The ATSB found aviation in Australia to be safer than in the United States and Canada, with a decline in accidents here over the past decade. However, general aviation was the sector with the most accidents.

Deputy Prime Minister Media Release A83/01.

18 June 2001

In a serious incident at Perth Airport, a Boeing 737 had to take evasive action to avoid a runway sweeping truck.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 27 Sep 02.

3 July 2001

Vladivostok Avia airlines Tupolev-154M crashed near Irkutsk killing 145 aboard. Since 1973, the Tu-154 had had 20 fatal accidents, with about 1000 aircraft in service.

Canberra Times, 5 July 2001, p. 9.

20 July 2001

Memorandum of Understanding published between the ATSB and CASA, following earlier disputes over Ansett.

ATSB web site.

1 August 2001

An Ansett Boeing 737 aborted landing at Canberra Airport, due to a truck on a runway. The runway was undergoing an extension at the time.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 21 Jan 2002.

8 August 2001

The Federal Government announced a study into Deep Vein Thrombosis as a threat to long distance air travellers.

Deputy Prime Minister Media Release A107/01.

11 September 2001

Three hijacked planes struck domestic United States targets while a fourth crashed after passengers sought to retake control of it. American Airlines flight 11, a Boeing 767 bound from Boston to Los Angeles, was the first to hit the World Trade Center North Tower in New York City. United Airlines flight 175, also a Boeing 767 from Boston to Los Angeles, later struck the Center's South Tower. American Airlines flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington-Dulles to Los Angeles hit the Pentagon in Washington D.C. A half-hour after the Pentagon attack, United Airlines flight 93, a Boeing 757 jetliner en route from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, crashed about 130km south east of Pittsburgh. All 266 aboard these aircraft died, while the destruction of the various buildings involved cost around 3,000 lives. Air security became a major global and political issue.


8 October 2001

SAS flight 686 rammed an airport hanger after colliding with a small plane at Milan Airport, killing over 118 people. Investigators later charged airport and air traffic control officials with negligence. They were later jailed.

Canberra Times, 9 October 2001, p. 7.

19 October 2001

The Federal Government announced New Aviation Security Measures in response to terrorism, involving more screening of passengers at 29 major Australian airports.

Minister for Transport Media Release A205/2001.

22 October 2001

In a serious incident, according to the ATSB, at Alice Springs, a Boeing 737 encountered severe turbulence.

ATSB Accident Report, 16 Aug 02.

19 November 2001

The Federal Government decided to introduce armed security officers on regular public transport flights.

Minister for Justice and Customs, Media Release, 19-11-2001.

12 November 2001

American Airlines flight 587 Airbus A300-600 crashed after take off from New York's John F Kennedy Airport killing all 260 aboard and 5 on the ground in local suburbs. Investigation began into a faulty tail fin vertical stabiliser.

AAP, 12 March 2002.

27 November 2001

A Qantas Boeing 767 engine failed north of Melbourne necessitating an emergency return to that airport.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 2 Oct 2002.

27 November 2001

A chartered Beechcraft King Air C90 crashed on take-off at Toowoomba killing 4 aboard, due to an engine failure.

ATSB Accident Report, 3 Dec 2002.

19 December 2001

Release of the Whyalla Airlines Piper Chieftain report. It focused on the need for seat restraints, life belt use, CASA surveillance, engine maintenance and refueling procedures.

ATSB Media Release, ATSB Occurrence Report, 19 Dec. 2001.

10 January 2002

A Korean Air MD11 freighter tipped onto its tail at Sydney Airport during unloading.

Canberra Times, 10 January 2002, p. 3.

14 January 2002

Former CASA Chairman, Mr Dick Smith, Airservices Australia Chairman, Mr John Forsyth and CASA Chairman, Mr Ted Anson, formed as a Special Aviation Reform Group (ARG), to advise the Minister for Transport on a Low-Level Airspace Reform Plan (LAMP) and a National Airspace System (NAS) by 25 March 2002.

Australian, 15 January 2002, p. 1. Minister for Transport, Media Release A22/2002, A16/2001.

25 January 2002

Justice Minister, Senator Chris Ellison announced an extra 179 Australian Protective Services officers to be sent to 11 major city airports to more than double security levels.

Age, 26 January 2002, p. 13.

30 January 2002

CASA grounded Territory airline Air Ngukurr for allegedly breaching 22 safety rules.

Northern Territory News, 30 January 2002, p. 4.

1 March 2002

A British Airways Boeing 747 experienced engine failure near Parkes, necessitating an emergency return to Sydney.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 24 Sept 2003.

5 March 2002

The last ever Ansett flight lands to end 66 years of history. See the Parliamentary Library Chronology of 18 July 2003 online titled: Key Australian Aviation Policy Developments: The Ansett Airlines Context 1937.


21 March 2002

ICAO Council adopted stronger flight security standards.

ICAO Release.

26 March 2002

Low Level Airspace Reform Plan (LAMP) and a National Airspace Plan (NAS) from the Smith/Forsyth/Anson ARG before the Minister for Transport and Regional Services. The NAS recommendation was said to be based on an American model. ARG established an implementation group to proceed. On 13 May the Federal Government accepted the schemes.

House of Representatives Debates, 12 March 2002, p. 938. Minister for Transport, Media Release A34/2002, A54/2002, Australian, 15 May 2002.

15 April 2002

Air China flight 129 Boeing 767 crashed in fog near Pusan, South Korea, killing 112 of the 166 aboard the aircraft.

Canberra Times, 16 April 2002, p. 1.

24 April 2002

A Boeing 737 flight near Darwin received a TCAS alert over a possible conflict with an Embracer 120 aircraft.

ATSB Occurrence Brief, 25 Nov 2003.

4 May 2002

An Executive Airline Services BAC111 crashed into suburbs of Kano, Nigeria killing a total of 154 persons.


5 May 2002

Mid air collision of a Piper Cherokee Warrior and a Socata Tobago killed four near Bankstown Airport, Sydney.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 May, p. 1.

7 May 2002

An Egypt Air Boeing 737500 flew into a hill in bad weather on second approach to Tunis Carthage Airport in Tunisia, killing 18 of the 54 aboard. All 112 aboard died when a China Northern MD-82 crashed into the Yellow Sea after a fire, en route from Beijing to Dalian in China.


14 May 2002

The Federal Government announced aviation security measures involving armed officers, screening and funds. On 13 May, it announced adoption of the NAS airspace model by accepting the recommendations of the ARG.

Budget Measures 2002-03, Budget Paper No. 2. Minister for Transport, Media Release A54/2002.

16 May 2002

The Federal Government released its response to the recommendations of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee Report on the Administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority: Matters related to Arcas Airways. These matters largely related to procedural and legal actions.

Minister for Transport and Regional Services, The Hon John Anderson MP, Deputy Prime Minister.

26 May 2002

China Airlines flight 611 Boeing 747200 crashed into the sea off Taiwan with the loss of all 225 on board, after falling apart in flight. A fuel tank explosion was suspected, but later investigation focussed upon structural failure.

Canberra Times, 27 May 2002, p. 9.

Mid 2002–2004

Stable and Secure Skies with Air Traffic Control

Local and global fatality rates continued to decline but runway runoffs and engine failures seemed to feature along with a global focus on aviation security issues. A National Airspace System created turbulence along with the threats of Air Traffic Control service privatization. Qantas offshoot Jetstar began, but not without incidents.


June 2002

The Federal Government released its response to the recommendations of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee Report on the Air Safety and Cabin Air Quality in the BAe 146 Aircraft. On 22 July fumes forced evacuation of a BAe 146 at Brisbane.

Northern Territory News, 23 July 2002, p. 2.

11 June 2002

In a serious incident, a Virgin Blue 737 overran the runway in Darwin, a result of crew action and training that required subsequent review.

ATSB Media Release 2004/03, 16 March 2004.

28 June 2002

Release of the Australian National Audit Office Follow-up Audit of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority found general compliance with the 1999 audit recommendations. The audit raised three matters and issues of risk identification.

Auditor-General Audit Report No. 66, 2001–2002.

28 June 2002

In a serious incident, a Hazelton SAAB 340 flight 186 from Sydney to Bathurst rolled severely with 32 aboard. Subsequent ATSB investigation highlighted wing ice as the cause, noting the incident of 11 November 1998.

ATSB Accident and Incident Report, 28 January 2004. Australian, 6 August 2002.

1 July 2002

Mid air collision of a Tupelov 154 charter flight and DHL Boeing 757 over Switzerland killed all 71 aboard both. European air traffic control procedures came into serious question and review, amid plans for system automation.

Sydney Morning Herald, 3 July 2002, p. 1. Age, 6 July 2002, p. 23.

3 July 2002

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services announced a new Inquiry into regional aviation services. Its report, Making Ends Meet, of November 2003, focused on financial aspects.

Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services Media Release.

22 July 2002

The Chivell Coronial inquiry into the Whyalla Airlines flight 904 crash, commenced in Adelaide, following public criticism of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's work.

Age, 22 July 2002, p. 4. ATSB Response to critique of the Whyalla report.

27 July 2002

In the world's worst air show disaster, 83 people were killed when an SU-27 fighter crashed at Lviv, Ukraine.

Canberra Times, 29 July 2002, p. 1.

10 August 2002

In a serious incident, a British Airways Boeing 747 returned to Sydney with a cargo bay fire, requiring an emergency landing and mobile stairway tarmac evacuation.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 18 Dec 2003.

16 August 2002

Airservices Australia proposal, to shift Sydney, Adelaide and Perth Terminal Control Units to Melbourne and Brisbane, created continuing controversy.

Australian, 16 August 2002, p. 29. Financial Review, ditto, p. 25.

24 August 2002

In a serious incident, a Qantas flight 108 Boeing 747 and Aero Mexico flight 460 infringed minimum separation standards at Los Angeles International Airport.

ATSB Occurrence Brief, 6 March 2003.

27 September 2002

Piper Cherokee crash on Hamilton Island killed six aboard. The ATSB report raised matters of drug and alcohol usage.

ATSB Media Release 2004/06.

September 2002

The Transport Safety Investigation Bill 2002, designed to widen ATSB's powers, considered by Parliament and a Senate Committee, before its passage on 26 March 2003.

Hansard various dates. Introduced 20 June 2002.

12 November 2002

The Opposition forced changes to the Civil Aviation Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 2) Statutory Rules 2002 No. 167 to defer any privatisation of ASA services.

Shadow Minister for Transport, Martin Ferguson MP Media Release 26-09-2002.

15 November 2002

The ATSB released the final Ansett 767 safety report which highlighted the need for the planning and supervision of regular aircraft inspections.

ATSB Media Release 2002/19.

16 November 2002

In a serious incident, a Boeing 717 and a Dash 8 north of Mackay twice compromised separation standards, a result of a safety deficiency requiring a review by ASA.

ATSB Accident Report, 7 June 2004.

18 November 2002

The Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP announced the intended abolition of CASA board by mid 2003 to be replaced by more direct Ministerial controls.

Canberra Times, 19 November 2002, p. 3. Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7.

21 November 2002

ATSB reopened Whyalla Airlines VH-MZK Investigation as the SA State Coroner continued a separate inquiry. The ATSB would later disagree with his key conclusions.

ATSB Media Release, 21 November 2003, ATSB Media Release, 24 July 2003 .

4, 5 December 2002

The Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 was debated in the House. It was an update to a previous bill on security issues.

Hansard. Introduced on 14 March 2002.

8 December 2002

Air New Zealand flight 132 Boeing 767200 made an emergency landing at Brisbane after an engine failure with 200 aboard. There was substantial damage to the engine area. The accident remained under investigation in 2004.

Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December 2002, p. 2. ATSB Accident Report, 23 January 2003.

11 December 2002

The Federal Government announced new aviation security measures including tighter screening and more officers.

Minister for Transport, Media Release A150/2002.

17 December 2002

The Federal Government announced an examination of a unified air traffic management system between the military and civil air traffic control agencies (RAAF and ASA).

Minister for Defence, Media Release, MIN 758/02.

16 January 2003

The Australian National Audit Office released its Performance Audit of Aviation Security in Australia. The Department of Transport and Regional Services agreed with its recommendations.

Auditor-General Audit Report No. 26, 2002-2003.

19 February 2003

In a serious incident at Darwin, a landing Qantas Boeing 737 left the wet runway, sustaining engine, tyre and wing damage. The matter remained under active investigation.

ATSB Occurrence Report, 27 Mar 2003.

19 February 2003

A Cessna light aircraft was hijacked from Hedlow, near Rockhampton, to Mackay, but reached a safe conclusion.

Australian, 20 February 2003.

5 March 2003

CASA issued Virgin Blue with a formal air safety warning relating to documentation and procedures. This followed concerns that pilots were not conducting safety checks.

Age, 6 March 2003, p. 8. Canberra Times, 2 March 2003, p. 3.

7 March 2003

At Melbourne Airport, United Airlines flight 815 Boeing 747, with 162 aboard, ran off the taxiway after a loss of steering control. There were no injuries.

Australian, 8 March 2003, p. 7. ATSB Occurrence Report, 21 April 2004.

27 March 2003

The Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2003 introduced to Parliament to abolish the CASA Board and change powers, along with the Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill. The Aviation Transport Security Bill 2003 also introduced.

Minister for Transport, Media Release A25/2003.

13 May 2003

The Federal Budget extended for another year the Location Specific Pricing subsidy for Airservices Australia charges. The Budget allocated $2.1 million to reform Australias airspace management, including the implementation of the National Airspace System (NAS).

Minister for Transport, Media Release A13/Budget.

29 May 2003

A Qantas Boeing 717 flight from Melbourne to Launceston was the scene of an onboard knife attack that injured two crew and two passengers before the assailant was subdued.

Age, 30 May 2003, p. 12. Sydney Morning Herald.

5 June 2003

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit started a review of aviation security in Australia. Meanwhile, the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee reviewed the Aviation Transport Security Bills 2003.

JCPAA Media Release, Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, 10/2003.

2 July 2003

After landing at Sydney Airport, Qantas flight 6 Boeing 747 carried out a precautionary tarmac emergency evacuation.

Australian, 3 July 2003, p. 5.

22 July 2003

CASA Director Mick Toller announced his retirement for 8 August, to be replaced by Deputy Aviation Safety Director, Mr Bruce Gemmel.

Age, 23 July 2003, p. 6.

20 August 2003

ATSB reported an improved aviation safety environment with the overall fatality rate declining at 8% per year.

ATSB Aviation Safety Indicators 2002.

September 2003

Air traffic controllers and some pilot groups rallied against the proposed NAS changes claiming them to be unsafe. This came as the Government responded to the Airspace 2000 report of the Senate Transport References Committee.

Australian, 26 September 2003. Sydney Morning Herald, 30 September 2003.

9 October 2003

The Civil Aviation reform bills passed through Parliament to abolish the CASA Board and provide for security policy.

Minister for Transport, Media Release A119/2003.

20 October 2003

NAS en-route charts distributed for a 27 November start, without radio frequency details, led to wide pilot outcry.

Canberra Times, 21 October 2003, p. 2.

28 October 2003

ATSB Supplementary Whyalla Airlines Investigation Report tabled to reconfirm the ATSB December 2001 report, rather than the SA State Coroners July findings.

ATSB Media Release 2003/07.

30 October 2003.

Mr Bruce Byron AM, appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety for CASA. He replaced acting director Mr Bruce Gemmell.

Minister for Transport, Media Release A132, 2003.

27 November 2003.

Initial implementation of NAS changes, in conjunction with parliamentary debate and wide media coverage.

Australian Aviation, Jan/Feb 2004, p. 44.

3 December 2003

A Virgin Blue flight north of Melbourne received a TCAS alert over a possible conflict with a light plane. ASA, Virgin Blue and the ATSB investigated the incident.

Canberra Times, 4 December 2003, p. 1, ATSB Occurrence Brief, 18 Dec 2003.

5 December 2003

A $93 million aviation security package announced by the government to include airport screening, identification and aircraft cockpit door strengthening measures. Meanwhile, the Aviation Transport Security Bills 2003 pass the House.

Minister for Transport, Media Release 155/2003.

23 December 2003

A new charter and strategic direction released for CASA.

Ditto, A170/2003.

24 December 2003

A Virgin Blue flight near Launceston received a TCAS alert over a possible conflict with a light aircraft. The ATSB found this to be a serious incident, unlike the 3 December event. The ASA later provided portable radar at Launceston to improve air traffic control surveillance.

Mercury, 25 December 2003, p. 1. ATSB Media Release 2004/01.

3 January 2004

Flash Airlines Boeing 737 crashed in Egypt killing 148.

Flight International, 25 January. 2005.

19 January 2004

The ATSB recommended that CASA and ASA, in consultation with the NAS Implementation Group, review NAS procedures and communications requirements for operations in Class E airspace, particularly for Air Transport operations during climb and descent in non-radar airspace.

ATSB Media Release 2004/01. ATSB Occurrence Report 19 Jan 2004.

21 January 2004

A survey by Flight International magazine found that the number of air crashes throughout the world fell to a record low in 2003. There were 27 accidents involving fatalities out of a global tally of more than 50 million aircraft journeys. The number of people killed was 702.

Flight International, February 2004.

10 February 2004

Airservices Australia advised that the introduction of the NAS did not follow prescribed governance procedures.

Australian, 11 February 2004, p. 3.

12 February 2004

Airservices Australia Chairman, Mr John Forsyth resigned amid claims of bungling of the introduction of the NAS.

Age, 13 February 2004, p. 1.

16 February 2004

Airservices Australia review of NAS identified a number of areas where safety could be improved, including use of transportable radar to extend surveillance coverage and the distribution of new charts indicating air traffic control frequencies, plus other possible future options to be tested.

Canberra Times, 17 February 2004, p. 3.

16 February 2004

The Airservices Australia (ASA) Board considered the status of the National Airspace System implementation and the Corporation's review of E class airspace in light of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report on a recent aircraft separation incident in Launceston.

ASA, media release 05/04, 16 February 2004.

20 February 2004

ASA clarified its airspace decision: “The thrust of the E airspace changes introduced in November was to provide greater flexibility to Visual Flight Rules aircraft. Our conclusion now is that this, in part, was flawed to the extent that service levels were reduced.”

ASA, media release 06/04, 20 February 2004.

21 February 2004

The Aviation Self Reporting Scheme (ASRS) began operation to replace the Confidential Aviation Incident Reporting (CAIR) scheme.

ATSB Statement to Industry, 27 January 2004.

1 March 2004

ASA announced installation, on a temporary basis, of a transportable radar unit near Launceston in April to assist air traffic controllers, based at Melbourne airport, to increase aircraft surveillance and situational awareness to pilots over Tasmania.

ASA, media release 07/04, 1 March 2004.

3 March 2004

The Aviation Transport Security Bills 2003 passed the Senate after review of the Regulations by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee.

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, 12/03

19 March 2004

NAS member Mr Dick Smith drew attention to an improvement in aviation safety statistics since the new airspace system began, while Broome International Airport considered taking legal action against any further changes.

Australian, 19 March 2004, p. 26.

22 March 2004

A Sydney bound Qantas flight 188 Boeing 767 reportedly passed within 800m of an Air New Zealand Boeing 767 flight, while under Indonesian air traffic control over Biak. A similar event on 19 June raised further Qantas concerns.

Australian, 22 May 2004, p. 9. 30 June 2004, p. 5.

1 April 2004

The Federal Government announced the proposed establishment of a Departmental Directorate to handle airspace change regulation, instead of the normal implementation of such matters by Airservices Australia.

Australian Financial Review, 2 April 2004, p. 10.

7 April 2004

A Virgin Blue flight near Maroochydore received a TCAS alert over a possible conflict with a light aircraft. However, ATSB investigation found that procedures were followed.

Courier Mail, 10 April 2004, p. 9. ATSB Media Release 2004/10.

21 April 2004

The ATSB advised of no adverse safety trend since NAS stage 2b was introduced on 27 November 2003.

ATSB Media Release 2004/09.

29 April 2004

The government announced its satisfaction with airspace reforms and the continued implementation of changes.

Minister for Transport, Media Release A48/2004.

8 May 2004

Australia and the United States signed an aviation security deal for air security officers to be deployed on flights between Australia and the United States.

Minister for Justice and Customs, Media Release E57/04.

11 May 2004

The Budget provides extra funding for ATSB, CASA and continuation of the location specific pricing subsidy.

Budget Media Releases.

26 May 2004

The Australian Aviation Council (AUSAC) launched as a new representative body for the aviation industry.

Minister for Transport, Media Release A59/2004.

25 May 2004

Qantas lower-fare, subsidiary airline Jetstar commenced operation, utilising both primary and subsidiary airports.


31 May 2004

CASA required changes to the planned next round of NAS reforms to ensure mandatory broadcast zones continued.

Australian, 31 May 2004, p. 4.

June 2004

Provisions of the Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Mutual Recognition with New Zealand and Other Matters) Bill 2003 considered by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee. The Committees report held differing views on whether New Zealand and Australian safety standards were equal.

Senate Debates.

9 June 2004

In a serious incident en route from Jakarta to Sydney, a Boeing 767 first officer was overcome with a gastric virus. On 16 June a Boeing 747 co-pilot suffered acute back pain. In both cases, the remaining crew safely landed their jets.

ATSB Occurrence Briefs, 30 June 2004.

17 June 2004

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee report on the Provisions of the Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Mutual Recognition with New Zealand and Other Matters) Bill 2003 was tabled. The Report raised issues of harmonisation and safety.

Senate, Debates, 17 June 2004, p. 24051.

19 June 2004

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee report on the Provisions of the Civil Aviation Amendment (Relationship with Anti-discrimination Legislation) Bill 2004 was tabled. The report raised some safety issues related to disabled passengers.

Senate, Debates, 19 June 2004, p. 23936.

24 June 2004

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit released its review of aviation security in Australia. While generally favourable, five recommendations ensued on aspects of security committee interactions, identification cards, security awareness training and regulations.

JCPAA Media Release. AAP.

30 June 2004

Some four hours into flight, a Korean Airlines aircraft was ordered by authorities to return to Sydney, due to Office of Transport Security concern over a passenger.


17 June 2004

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee report on the Provisions of the Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Mutual Recognition with New Zealand and Other Matters) Bill 2003 was tabled. The Report raised issues of harmonisation and safety.


June 2004

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee report on the Provisions of the Civil Aviation Amendment (Relationship with Anti-discrimination Legislation) Bill 2004 was tabled. The report raised some safety issues.


17 July 2004

A landing Qantas Boeing 737 and a departing Jetstar Boeing 717 take action to avoid collision at Hamilton Island Airport after the Boeing 717 crew received a Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) traffic advisory warning.

A departing Jetstar Boeing 717 took evasive action, to maintain separation from a landing Qantas Boeing 737 at Hamilton Island, leading to extensive media coverage.

Creedy, S., ‘Jetstar plane in Qantas near miss’, The Australian, 19 July 2004, p. 3. ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200402648, 20 June 2005.

Australian, 19 July 2004, p. 3.

ATSB, ‘TCAS traffic advisory near Hamilton Island’, Flight Safety Australia, July–August 2005, p.60.

24 July 2004

In an early morning incident, a Qantas Boeing 737, en route from Perth to Canberra with 87 onboard, flew south of the prescribed course, near mountains, activating the TCAS terrain avoidance alarm. ATSB investigation revealed several causal factors including an un-crewed control tower, an overheated cockpit and tired pilots.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200402747, 18 May 2005.

28 July 2004

A private Piper PA-31T Cheyenne on an instrument flight rules flight from Bankstown to Benalla Victoria, collided with terrain 34 km south-east of its destination, killing all six aboard. An internal investigation was conducted by ASA into the air traffic control system aspects of the accident. The investigation report made recommendations that related to The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS) alerts refresh training, human factors awareness training, enhancements to TAAATS software, and greater clarity of instructions related to aircraft track deviation and route adherence monitoring (RAM) alerts.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200402797, 7 February 2006. ASA, Airservices Australia media statement 01, 7 February 2006.

10 August 2004

In an incident rated as serious, a Jetstar Boeing 717 bound for Hobart from Melbourne experienced an in-flight engine failure.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200402948, 31 May 2006.

27 August 2004

The Airservices Australia board voted to reverse some key National Airspace System (NAS) reforms, with some of Class E air space to be returned to Class C, where all planes were separated by air traffic control. Under the overhauled system, introduced in December, Class C air space would now be expanded over capital city airports and be reintroduced between Sydney and Melbourne. Corridors between Melbourne-Mildura and Sydney- Dubbo, which had been reclassified as restriction-free Class G air space, would revert to Class E. The ASA Board agreed to implement airspace safety enhancements from 25 November 2004 that would leave in place about 90 percent of the class E airspace introduced in 2003.

Steve Creedy, ‘Bumpy ride for airspace reform’, The Australian, 27 August 2004, p. 30. ASA, media release 22/04, 27 August 2004.

24 September 2004

The ASA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bernie Smith, called for an end to alarmist and unsubstantiated statements being levelled against the national air traffic control corporation its staff and management and other members of the aviation community. The call came after statements made by aviator Mr Dick Smith on capital radio stations.

ASA, media release 24/04, 24 September 2004.

November 2004

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) promulgated a new policy placing its greatest safety focus on high capacity regular passenger transport flights.

CASA Regulatory Policy – CEO-PN001-2004, CASA's Industry Sector Priorities,

25 November 2004

ASA introduced NAS changes to about 10 per cent of the current NAS 2 (b) E class airspace, and also introduced significant safety changes to air traffic control procedures around non-towered airports to protect airliners.

ASA, media release 27/04, 22 October 2004.

1 December 2004

The Aviation Security Amendment Bill 2004 passed by the Senate to enable checks of the security status of aircraft.

Senate, Debates, 1 December 2004, p. 29.


Storm Clouds Gather over a Mountainside

The Transair Metroliner Lockhart River hillside crash again brought CASA surveillance under review. Airport security continued as a matter of concern. Both ASA and CASA restructured. Two Qantas 747’s strike objects at LAX and JFK US airports. Airspace regulation and administration transferred from ASA to CASA, to create a new function for CASA as civil airspace regulator.


22 January 2005

In an incident rated as serious, a Jetstar Boeing 717 experienced a flight management computer failure after takeoff from Cairns for Brisbane. The aircraft returned safely to Cairns.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200500285, 5 May 2006

3 February 2005

Kam Air Boeing 737 crashed in Afghanistan, killing 106.

Flight International, 10 January 2006.

19 February 2005

A British Airways Boeing 747 with 367 aboard bound from Los Angeles to London is diverted to Manchester after a fuel shortage occurred onboard. The same aircraft suffered an engine shutdown on 25 February 2005. These and several other midair incidents bring safety standards at the airline into question.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32. Steve Creedy, ‘Cracks appear in British airline safety’, The Australian, 2 January 2006, p.6.

9 April 2005

A Qantas Boeing 747 was forced to abort a landing approach at Auckland Airport, due to the proximity of an unidentified aircraft. It then came within separation standards of an airborne Air New Zealand Boeing 747.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200501482, 24 June 2005.

14 April 2005

An Aero Commander 500-S aircraft departed Brisbane aerodrome on a non-scheduled flight to Maryborough, Queensland. It passed within 1 nautical mile horizontally and 500 feet vertically of a Virgin Blue Boeing 737, that was inbound from Darwin. As a result of this occurrence, ASA proposed air traffic control system improvements.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200501628, 30 January 2006.

3 May 2005

An Airport Fairchild Metroliner III SA227 crashed near Mount Stratford, New Zealand, killing 2 aboard. The aircraft apparently broke apart at flight altitude. Similar aircraft were in common use across Australia.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32. ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200502272, 21 February 2006.

7 May 2005

Aero-Tropics Air Service Fairchild Metroliner III SA227 crashed near Lockhart River, Queensland, killing all 15 onboard. The ATSB issued recommendations which found the co-pilot was not trained to use the instrument approach the crew was conducting, nor was the aircraft fitted with an autopilot. The Bureau recommended that CASA review current legislation and regulations in a bid to ensure both members of a flight crew of two are qualified to carry out an instrument approach and ordered the use of autopilot equipment on all civil aircraft.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32. AAP, ‘Call for CASA to review safety laws’, Canberra Times, 25 January 2006, p. 5. ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200501977, 16 December 2005.

17 May 2005

Passengers used the emergency slide to evacuate a Jetstar Boeing 717 on the runway in Hobart when a small fire started in the right engine.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200502137, 26 July 2005.

25 May 2005

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit resolved to review developments in aviation security since its report of 24 June 2004. The Committee was concerned by public reports of security breaches at Australian airports. Subsequently it released an interim report in November 2005 in which it identified two areas of aviation security of special need: a review of legislation and the provisions for Aviation Security Identification Cards.

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, ‘Review of aviation security in Australia’, Media Release, 26 May 2005.

30 May 2005

ASA won the prestigious International Air Transport Association (IATA) “Eagle Award” for 2005.

ASA, media release 08/05, 30 May 2005.

30 May 2005

In a ‘serious incident' while being pushed out of the gate at Sydney Airport, a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 experienced a fatigue fracture failure in its left landing gear trunnion.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200502400, 1 June 2006

7 June 2005

The Federal Government asked Sir John Wheeler to conduct a wide-ranging review of Australia’s airport security, following his review of security at principal airports in the United Kingdom. The review came after widespread media reports of abuse of passenger luggage by baggage handlers and also with concerns raised about the levels of security applying at remote and regional airports.

Hon John Anderson, (Minister for Transport and Regional Services), ‘Securing and policing Australia’s airports, media release, 7 June 2005.

16 June 2005

The Civil Aviation Amendment Act 2005 passed to ensure consistency between aviation safety regulations and antidiscrimination legislation. It supplanted the Civil Aviation Amendment (Relationship with Anti-discrimination Legislation) Bill 2004, which had lapsed with the August 2004 dissolution of parliament.

Senate, Debates, 16 June 2005, p. 74.

21 June 2005

An agreement was signed between the United States and Australia on the promotion of aviation safety.

[2006] ATS 16

28 July 2005

In an incident rated serious, a Qantas Boeing 747 with 392 aboard had to divert from Frankfurt to Munich due to poor weather, but the remaining fuel load was below that required by CASA.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200503675, 21 October 2005.

1 August 2005

Malaysian Airlines flight MH124 Boeing 777, that had left Perth with 184 aboard, experienced a sudden pitch up near the top of its climb, later attributed to a software fault.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 36. ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200503722, 16 September 2005

2 August 2005

TANS Boeing 737 crashed in Peru killing 40 of 98 aboard.

Flight International, 10 January 2006.

2 August 2005

An Air France Airbus A340-300 overran the runway at Toronto Pearson Airport, bursting into flame within a ravine. Fortunately, all 309 aboard were evacuated safely.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 36.

14 August 2005

A Helios Airways Boeing 737 crashed at Grammatikos Greece, after the cabin pressurisation failed, killing 121.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32.

16 August 2005

West Caribbean Airways Boeing MD-82 crashed in Venezuela after leaving Panama City, killing 160.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32.

20 August 2005

After leaving Narita airport, a Qantas Airbus A330 with 194 aboard bound for Perth developed a fire in the hold and returned to Tokyo for emergency evacuation. During the evacuation, one passenger sustained serious injuries and eight passengers sustained minor injuries. The Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission (ARAIC) of Japan investigated.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200504074, 30 June 2006.

September 2005

The Wheeler Review was presented to the Government and focused on responses to the threat of terrorism at airports and the related threat from serious crime. It drew attention to deficiencies in coordination among security agencies and a lack of security awareness among airport workers. It also found that airport security infrastructure was lacking.

Sir John Wheeler, An independent review of airport security and policing for the Government of Australia, September 2005.

5 September 2005

A Mandala Airlines Boeing 737 crashed when leaving Medan Airport, Indonesia, killing 101 of 117 aboard and 50 on the ground.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32.

21 September 2005

The Commonwealth Government announced in principle acceptance of the recommendations made by the Wheeler review of airport security and announced additional expenditure of almost $200 million to further improve security at major airports.

Hon John Howard, Prime Minister, ‘Securing and policing Australia’s airports’, [Media Release], 21 September 2005.

22 October 2005

A Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 crashed after takeoff from Lagos Nigeria killing 117. The operation of Lagos Airport continued to be of concern to world airlines.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32.

27 October 2005

Eight principles for the development of an improved aviation safety culture in Australia were set out by CASA’s chief executive officer Bruce Byron. The principles to achieve positive safety outcomes included aspects focused on issues, clear safety rules, industry consultation, safety at reasonable cost, fair processes, professional respect and courtesy.

CASA, Principles for a Safer Aviation Industry, media release, 27 October 2005, ‘

8 November 2005

ASA announced a major organisational restructure.

ASA, media release 17/05, 8 November 2005.

9 November 2005

A Virgin Blue Boeing 737 out of Sydney for Melbourne suffered sudden decompression at 40,000 feet. After an emergency descent the flight continued to its destination. The investigation included analysis of the crew and passenger responses to the depressurisation.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32. ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200505683, 25 January 2006.

23 November 2005

Aviation identity Mr Dick Smith conducted a series of public lectures claiming that the lack of monitored Class E airspace had led to several serious incidents and deaths. A series of events: one, a fatal small aircraft accident, and the second, a serious incident involving a Qantas Boeing 737 may have been avoided if the full potential of the air traffic radar coverage had been utilised. Each occurrence was in uncontrolled air space, where aircraft were visible to air traffic controllers but not subject to their direction.

Emma Tinkler, ‘Air disaster will happen: Smith’, Canberra Times, 23 November 2005, p. 1. Ben Sandilands, ‘Without warning: the fatal flight that killed’, Australian Financial Review, 16 July 2005, p. 19.

24 November 2005

Pilot operating procedures were changed at non-towered aerodromes, including radio usage and circuit flying. A phase of NAS reform that centred on airfields with a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF), it focused on a shift from radio separation to ‘alert, see and avoid’. It was expected that a national airspace directorate, to govern the NAS and determine future airspace policy, would be established inside the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) as an Office of Airspace Management in 2005-2006.

CASA, Flight Safety Australia, 11/12 2005, p. 64. Australian Aviation, December 2005, p. 70.

29 November 2005

OzJet Airlines commenced ‘business class’ Boeing 737 operations between Melbourne and Sydney. Meanwhile, a new Airbus A380 completed an inaugural promotional visit to Australia, to help celebrate the Qantas 85th birthday on November 15. The Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Mutual Recognition with New Zealand) Bill 2005 is considered by the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee.

Tansy Harcourt, ‘Lots of legroom as Ozjet flies’, Australian Financial Review, 29 November 2005, p. 3. Scott Rochford, ‘Happy Birthday Qantas’, The Age, 15 November 2005, p. 1.

2 December 2005

A Virgin Blue Boeing 737 on a flight from Townsville to Brisbane experienced a windscreen failure and change of cabin pressure. It landed safely after a rapid descent.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200506298, 1 February 2006.

8 December 2005

At Chicago Midway Airport, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 overran the iced runway and crashed through a fence and onto a road, hitting two cars, killing 1 child.

Flight International, 10 January 2006, p. 32.

22 December 2005

Following media claims of a declining safety record, the ATSB released a study of fatal aviation accidents from 1990 to 2005. The ATSB found that the total number of fatal accidents and fatalities declined significantly in the period from 1990 to 2005. The largest number of fatal accidents (30) and fatalities (64) was recorded in 1990. The lowest number of fatal accidents (10 and 11) and fatalities (24 and 23) occurred in 2002 and 2004. In 2005 there was an increase in the number of fatal accidents and fatalities to 13 and 34 respectively compared with 2004.

ATSB, media release 41, 22 December 2005.

2 January 2006

After a series of skydiving deaths, including an incident at Brisbane Skydiving Centre on 2 January involving a Cessna aircraft which crashed into a dam with five deaths and two injuries, the relevant standards and regulations came under closer scrutiny.

Steve Creedy, ‘CASA junked plan for skvdiver warning’, The Australian, 6 February 2006, p.6.

24 January 2006

A Roy Morgan Research poll for CASA found that 74 per cent of respondents were very confident about the safety of air travel between capital cities, but only 62 per cent were as sure about air travel in regional areas.

AAP. CASA, Public confidence in aviation sky high, media release, 24 January 2006.

2 February 2006

At Melbourne Airport, a United Airlines 747 wing struck a rear stabiliser wing of a Qantas 767 waiting on the taxiway. The ATSB investigation found that the American pilot had erred. Both aircraft received significant wing damage.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200600524, 30 June 2006.

7 February 2006

An Agreement on the promotion of aviation safety between the government of Australia and the government of the United States of America and implementation procedures for airworthiness, tabled in Parliament. It facilitated reciprocal certification by CASA and the FAA.

Senate, Debates, 7 February 2006, p. 146.

9 February 2006

CASA announced that about 65 safety inspectors in its head office in Canberra would be shifted to new positions near key city airports. Brisbane became the operational headquarters for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

CASA, Operational air safety HQ for Brisbane, media release, 9 February 2006.

11 February 2006

An Adam Air Boeing 737 flew ‘blind’ over Indonesia for a reported four hours after leaving Jakarta, before the pilots found a runway on an island to land on. The event came a week after the Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon visited Adam Air.

Mark Forbes, ‘Jet lost for hours over Java after navigation system failed’, The Age, 13 February 2005.

1 March 2006

Airservices Australia announced the continuation of a restructuring to involve the loss of around 300 staff over 15 months.

ASA, Airservices Australia restructure, media release 03/06, 1 March 2006.

12 March 2006

Ozjet ceased regular passenger transport flight operations.


27 March 2006

Airport Development and Aviation Noise Ombudsman Bill 2006 introduced into the House of Representatives to address issues of aircraft operations and management.

House of Representatives, Debates, 27 March 2006, p. 31.

29 March 2006

The Aviation Transport Security Amendment Bill 2006 was introduced into Parliament to provide for special events at airports and management of cargo security clearances.

House of Representatives, Debates, 29 March 2006. Bills Digest, no.157, 20 June 2006.

19 April 2006

Air Vice Marshal Roxley McLennan appointed to the Airservices Board and Ms Christine Goode appointed Deputy Chair. Former Deputy Chair of the Board, Air Marshal Leslie Fisher retired two months early.

Truss, W. (Minister for Transport and Regional Services), Airservices Board senior appointments, media release 053WT/2006, 19 April 2006.

3 May 2006

An Airbus of Armenian airline Armavia crashed into the Black Sea, while trying to land in bad weather, killing all 113 passengers and crew. This A320 aircraft was formerly owned and operated here by Ansett Airlines.

Owen Zupp, ‘Ansett: Absolutely five years on’, Australian Aviation, September 2006, p. 66. AAP.

11 May 2006

The Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Mutual Recognition with New Zealand) Bill 2005 [2006] providing for the acceptance of air operator certification passed the Senate. It passed Parliament on 11 September.

Senate, Debates, 11 May 2006, p. 93.

29 May 2006

A Qantas Boeing 747 wing tip struck a blast fence at New York's JFK Airport around 5pm local time. QF107 from Los Angeles had 204 passengers on board. They claimed it took Qantas and airport staff about an hour to get the plane clear of the blast fence at the edge of the tarmac.

Debbie Cuthbertson, ‘Qantas jet hits airport blast fence’, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 May 2006.

28 June 2006

ASA’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) radar system became operational-ready for upper-level commercial air transport. However, plans for lower-level general aviation deployment became unclear following revelations of transmission safety and security issues as largely revealed by aviator Mr Dick Smith.

Owen Zupp, ‘ADS-B Highs and lows’, Australian Aviation, August 2006. Steve Creedy, ‘Warning on air traffic hacking’, The Australian, 6 June 2006.

9 July 2006

A Siberia Airlines Airbus A310 crashed on landing at Irkutsk Airport killing at least 150 of the 200 aboard.


9 August 2006

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) expressed deep concern at the impact of the Federal Government’s policy of handing the management of airports to private operators. AOPA fully supported Save Our Secondary Airports, the group that was campaigning about ‘unjust’ practices against general aviation operators at Bankstown, Archerfield and Jandakot Airports.

Steve Creedy, ‘Flyers blast private
airports as a `failure
', The Australian, 9 [RB1] August 2006, p. 23.

10 August 2006

British authorities detained 24 terrorist suspects, claimed to have been preparing an imminent attack on ten trans-Atlantic flights, by using liquid-based bombs to be taken on board in hand luggage. Massive flight disruptions occurred in both the United Kingdom and the United States for some days as extra security checks of personal hand luggage were initiated.


11 August 2006

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau released a study on aviation safety statistics which showed that Australia’s fatal accident and fatality rates were mostly similar to the corresponding rates of the other countries examined. Using North America and the United Kingdom to represent world’s best practice and as a benchmark of aviation safety, the findings claimed to demonstrate that Australia had a good safety record.

ATSB, ‘International Fatality Rates: A Comparison of Australian Civil Aviation Fatality Rates with International Data’, Aviation Research and Analysis Report B2006/0002, 11 August 2006.

14 August 2006

At Los Angeles International Airport, 288 passengers were evacuated onto the tarmac from a Qantas Boeing 747, after it collided with a luggage cart. One of the engines was believed to have been damaged.


15 August 2006

Opposition Senator Kerry O’Brien alleged that the former Minister for Transport and Regional Services, The Hon John Anderson, unduly interfered in the NAS changes of 2003 and 2004 and incorrectly claimed that they were based on the United States National Airspace System.

Senate, Debates, 15 August 2006.

22 August 2006

A Russian Tupolev 154 of Pulkovo Airlines crashed in the Ukraine, killing all 170 persons onboard.


31 August 2006

CASA revealed moves to boost its overall revenue from fees by more than 40 per cent. CASA aimed to change its fee structure in 2007–08 as part of government-mandated moves towards greater cost recovery.

Steve Creedy, ‘CASA to tap fees
and boost revenue
’, The Australian, 1 September 2006, p. 34.

8 September 2006

CASA confirmed that Queensland-based Transair had entered into an enforceable voluntary undertaking (EVU) to address maintenance issues. Critics said the EVU raised questions about the efficacy of CASA's oversight of Transair and about the audit which had given the airline approval two months before the Lockhart River accident. Opposition transport spokesman Kerry O'Brien said it once again showed the need for a thorough public inquiry into CASA.

Steve Creedy, ‘CASA tightens
Transair Maintenance
’, The Australian, 8 September 2006, p. 30.

12 September 2006

The Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Mutual Recognition with New Zealand) Bill 2005 [2006], providing for the mutual acceptance of air operator certification, passed Parliament. The Report of Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee was tabled on 5 September. Labor opposed this regime in the absence of an assessment of the likely safety and economic outcome. Labor’s principal objection to this bill was that it had the potential to reduce aviation safety standards and cost Australian jobs. Labor referred the original 2003 legislation to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee for inquiry and report. This earlier report was tabled on 24 June 2003.

House of Representatives, Debates, 12 September 2006, p. 65.

14 September 2006

The Minister for Transport and Regional Services the Hon Warren Truss announced that plans to move airspace regulatory responsibility to the Transport Department had been changed in favour of giving it to CASA. It had previously been announced that the function would be shifted from ASA to the Department of Transport and Regional Services.

Warren Truss, Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Deputy Leader of The Nationals, ‘Airspace management reform in Australia’, Media Release, 14 September 2006.

16 September 2006

In an incident, that raised the matter of regulatory standards and the use of Instrument Landing Systems, at 0038 Western Standard Time, a Qantas Airbus A330 landed on runway 21 at Perth Airport in fog conditions that were below the applicable landing standard. The aircraft, on a scheduled passenger flight from Singapore to Perth had to abort landing twice and had insufficient fuel to divert to an alternative airfield. Based on the lack of alternatives, low fuel and the intention to conduct an approach below minima, the crew transmitted a Mayday to ATC and conducted an automatic landing in darkness.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report AE-2006-05473, 20 August 2007.

Macarthur Job, ‘Go-round: Qantas A330 autoland emergency at Perth’, Australian Aviation, December 2007, pp. 36-38.

29 September 2006

During flight from Manaus Brazil, a GOL airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed in the jungle killing all 154 aboard, after a collision with an Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet. The latter jet survived and was able to land safely. The incident raised issues of air traffic control.

AP, ‘No survivors expected as jet wreck found in jungle’, The Australian, 2 October 2006, p. 13.

16 October 2006

CASA considered whether to adopt a new* international co-pilot's licence that would require just 10 hours solo experience commanding a plane. The 10 hours of command time, dropped from the existing Australian standard of 100 hours, would be coupled with 230 hours in a flight simulator. The proposal drew both claims of support and of negative safety consequences. *ICAO Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Training (PANS-TRG) establishing a new type of flight crew licence to be known as the Multi-crew Pilot Licence (MPL).

Cath Hart, ‘Air hours slashed in new pilot licences’, The Australian, 16 October 2006, p. 3.

Senate, Debates, 16 October 2006, p. 32.

Senate, Debates, 8 February 2007, p. 151.

18 October 2006

The Inspector of Transport Security Bill 2006 was introduced with the Inspector of Transport Security (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2006 to provide a legislative basis for independent inquiry and recommendations by the Inspector of Transport Security in relation to transport security matters and offshore security matters. The bills passed Parliament on 28 November 2006.

House of Representatives, Debates, 31 October 2006, p. 90.

29 October 2006

Nigerian ADC Boeing 737 crashed at Abuja killing 96. The event was one of a series of crashes in Nigeria that raised matters of aviation regulatory controls.


30 October 2006

Documents tabled in Federal Parliament in October 2006 showed that CASA audits of the Brisbane-based airline Transair in 2001, 2004 and February 2005, found ‘ongoing compliance and structural problems’. Opposition transport spokesman Kerry O'Brien tabled the documents after CASA revealed in a Senate committee that it had moved in the previous week to ground Transair by cancelling its licence to operate. CASA chief executive Bruce Byron revealed on 30 October that the regulator had cancelled the air operator's certificate of Brisbane-based Transair on 24 October.

Steve Creedy, ‘Disaster airline has wings clipped’, The Australian, 31 October 2006, p. 4.

8 November 2006

The Opposition unsuccessfully attempted to convene an inquiry, by the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, into the operations of CASA in Australia, CASA’s functions under the Civil Aviation Act 1988, including its oversight of Lessbrook Pty Ltd trading as Transair.

Senate, Hansard, 8 November 2006, p. 107.

27 November 2006

CASA suspended for at least five business days regular public transport and charter flights operated by Lessbrook Pty Ltd, trading as Transair, in regional NSW and north Queensland. The regulator now had to prove to a Federal Court that its latest action was warranted. If successful, this would enable CASA to ground Transair for a further 40 days while it carried out an investigation.

AAP, ‘Qld's Transair grounded on safety concerns’, The Canberra Times, 28 November 2006, p. 8.

29 November 2006

The Airspace Bill 2006 and the Airspace (Consequentials) and Other Measures Bill 2006  introduced to provide for the transfer of airspace regulation and administration from Airservices Australia to CASA, to create a new function for CASA as civil airspace regulator.

House of Representatives, Hansard, 29 November 2006, p. 5.

1 December 2006

The Shadow Minister for Transport Senator Kerry O’Brien noted that the ATSB advised that they had referred Transair to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Senator said that of great concern was that the seven ‘immediately reportable matters’, which had occurred between 1 July 2003 and the Lockhart River accident in May 2005, were not reported as required under the law. He stated that: ‘I am particularly concerned that in August 2004 and again in February 2005 that officers of CASA undertook safety audits of Transair and either took no action or were unaware of what can only be described as a continuing disregard for safety and the law by Transair management... Labor remains convinced that only a full and open Senate inquiry into CASA’s handling of Transair both before and since the disaster as well as other matters will help restore public faith in CASA’s ability to regulate air safety.’

Senator Kerry O’Brien, Shadow Minister for Transport, ‘ATSB Action Exposes CASA’, Media Release, 1 December 2006.

4 December 2006

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit Report 409 on ‘Developments in Aviation Security since the Committee’s June 2004 Report 400: Review of Aviation Security in Australia’ was tabled to provide an update on events since the election. The new report focused on risk-based management, personnel with airside access, security screening procedures, law enforcement arrangements at security classified airports and security upgrade costs.

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, ‘Inquiry into developments in aviation security since the Committee’s June 2004 Report 400: Review of Aviation Security in Australia, Report 409, December 2006.

4 December 2006

While asking CASA to respond to an ATSB report, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services Mr Vaile stopped short of ordering an inquiry into CASA's handling of Transair, as demanded by the Federal Opposition. He said that the Government believed the calls were inappropriate before the release of the final ATSB report early in 2007 and a Queensland coronial inquiry into the Lockhart River crash.

Steve Creedy, ‘Air regulator called to account’, The Australian, 4 December 2006, p. 7.

7 December 2006

The Airspace Bill 2006 and the Airspace (Consequentials and other Measures) Bill 2006 passed the House. The Senate referred the Bills to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, with their report tabled on 28 February 2007. The Bills passed the Senate on 21 March 2007 without amendment or debate.

House of Representatives, Debates, 7 December 2006, p. 40.

Senate, Debates, 21 March 2007, p. 67.


Australasian events bring Regulation into Review

Indonesian air crashes killed 5 Australians and involve the ATSB. Yet another review of the relationship between CASA and ATSB. ASA air traffic controller shortages shut down airspace. A Qantas 747 lost electrical power after a galley leak and another experienced fuselage rupture, both requiring emergency landings. Then a Qantas A330, without any apparent pilot input, pitched unexpectedly at cruise altitude, while other airborne failures plagued the airline. CASA ordered a review of Qantas maintenance work.

This review mentions major overseas events in the context that the aircraft types involved are used in Australia.

1 January 2007

Indonesian Adam Air Boeing 737-400 flight 574 over Sulawesi with 102 aboard disappeared without trace for over 2 weeks. Pieces of aircraft wreckage and the black box flight recorder were found over coming months in the Java Sea. The event again raised issues of Indonesian aviation safety standards and regulation.

Lindsay Murdoch, ‘Plane riddle casts doubt on Indonesia air industry’, The Australian, 11 January 2007, p. 10. Reuters, ‘Black box retrieved from crashed Indonesian plane’, Reuters AlertNet, 28 Aug 2007 06:25:13 GMT.

10 January 2007

During a Qantas Airbus A330-303 flight from Hong Kong to Sydney, the second officer had a seizure. He was removed from the operating station and replaced by the aircraft’s co-pilot. Upon receipt of information confirming that the pilot had suffered a second neurological seizure, CASA revoked the pilot’s medical certificate.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report AE-2007-00080, 29 June 2007.

28 February 2007

Passage through the lower house of the Aviation Transport Security Amendment (Additional Screening Measures) Bill 2007 to address the matter of liquid explosives being carried on board passenger aircraft, in response to a global alert. The Bill passed the Senate on 22 March 2007.

House of Representatives, Debates, 28 February 2007, p. 28.

7 March 2007

A Garuda Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on landing at Indonesia's Yogyakarta airport. Five Australians were found dead and five others injured after it skidded off the runway and burst into flames. The crash killed 25 of the 133 on board. The crash was the fifth Boeing 737 aircraft to be lost by an Indonesian airline since December 24. (A Lion Air jet had run off a runway at Makassar, Sulawesi, on Christmas Eve. On New Year's Day the Adam Air jet was lost off Sulawesi (see above). Later, a Gading Sari 737 freighter crashed in Kuching, Malaysia. Another Adam Air jet cracked in the middle after making a hard landing in Surabaya in February.) Australian air safety authorities assisted their Indonesian counterparts in the investigation activities.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Patrick Walters, ‘Jet Inferno Kills 22, The Australian, 8 March 2007, p. 1.

Scott Rochfort, ‘String of accidents in an industry under pressure’, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 March 2007, p. 4.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report AE-2007-015, 22 October 2007.

28 March 2007

Passage of the Airports Amendment Bill 2006 to alter the regulatory regime for land use planning, protection of the environment and control of on-airport building activity provided for by the Airports Act 1996. It proposed to exclude Canberra Airport from the operation of the National Capital Plan.

Senate, Debates, 28 March 2007, p. 41.

31 March 2007

The Australian Government introduced enhanced security measures to limit the amount of liquids, aerosols, and gels that could be taken through the screening point for people who were flying to and from Australia. The measures matched those overseas.

New Aviation Security Measures for carry-on Baggage at International Airports.

31 March 2007

During a Boeing 767 flight from Jakarta to Sydney, the pilot in command became unwell. He was removed from the operating station and replaced by the aircraft’s co-pilot before the plane landed at Sydney. The pilot probably had been affected by a gastro-intestinal illness.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation
, 7 February 2008.

4 April 2007

ATSB released its detailed investigation report into the Lockhart River crash. It stated that the accident was almost certainly the result of controlled flight into terrain, that is, an airworthy aircraft under the control of the flight crew was flown unintentionally into terrain, probably with no prior awareness by the crew of the aircraft’s proximity to terrain. The investigation report identified a range of contributing and other safety factors relating to the crew of the aircraft, Transair's processes, regulatory oversight of Transair by CASA, and RNAV (GNSS) approach design and chart presentation. It also detailed safety action taken by various agencies to address the identified safety issues. The crash was also examined in an inquest by the Queensland Coroner with both CASA and the ATSB assisting the Coroner. The coronial inquest provided a forum for detailed and objective consideration of CASA’s oversight of Transair (see 18 August 2007 entry).

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report AE-2005-01977, 7 May 2005.

5 May 2007

A Kenya Airways Boeing 737 crashed at Doula International Airport Cameroon killing 114 aboard. The plane was only a few months old.


8 May 2007

The Federal Budget introduced mandatory drug and alcohol tests for people working in ‘safety sensitive’ areas of the industry, including pilots, cabin crew, baggage handlers, air-traffic controllers and ground staff. With later passage of the Aviation Legislation Amendment (2007 Measures No. 1) Bill 2007 this measure became law.

Kate Hannon, ‘Random drug tests to ensure air safety’, The Canberra Times, 9 May 2007, p. 24. Senate, Debates, 21 June 2007, p. 17. House of Representatives, Debates, 15 August 2007, p. 94.

21 June 2007

A Jetstar A320 aircraft made two missed approaches while trying to land in foggy conditions at Melbourne Airport. The event was not fully revealed until media coverage much later and raised matters of airline management, regulatory surveillance and safety training.

M O'Sullivan, ‘Jetstar captain's safety concern’, The Age, 15 November 2010 and B Sandilands, ‘Plane Talking: how Jetstar came close to disaster in 2007’, Crikey website, 5 March 2010.

1 July 2007

The Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR), a small but distinct unit within CASA, commenced operation as the responsible body for regulating Australian airspace. The General Manager of the OAR reported directly to the Chief Executive Officer (Director of Safety) of CASA. There were embedded members of the Australian Defence Force within the OAR. The role of the OAR was to regulate Australian airspace in accordance with the Airspace Regulations 2007 and to meet the Australian Government commitment expressed in the Australian Airspace Policy Statement (2007).

Office of Airspace Regulation.

9 July 2007

During a Boeing 767 flight from Nagoya to Cairns, the pilot in command had a seizure. He was removed from the operating station and replaced by the aircraft’s co-pilot before the plane landed at Cairns. The pilot probably had been affected by a gastro-intestinal illness.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report AE-2007-022, 29 November 2007.

17 July 2007

Upon landing, a TAM Airlines Airbus A320 left the runway at Sao Paulo Airport Brazil killing about 200 persons. The event highlighted inadequacies at the airport.

Agencies, ‘Horror crash on unsafe runway kills 200’, The Australian, 19 July 2007.

21 July 2007

Jetstar A320 flight JQ156 from Christchurch had a missed approach at Melbourne Airport that was not reported to CASA until after media scrutiny. On September 11, 2007, in response to media and industry reports of a potentially serious incident at Melbourne Airport, the ATSB contacted the operator, ‘who provided additional information on the incident,’ the interim ATSB report stated.

ATSB, Aviation Safety Investigation Report AE-2007-05576, 30 October 2007.

1 August 2007

The Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005 required that, from this day, all checked baggage be screened at all Counter-Terrorism First Response Airports.

Aviation Transport Security Legislation.

9 August 2007

The Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Committee released its report on Workforce challenges in the transport industry. While looking at the transport sector as a whole, it included aviation: ‘the industry finds difficulty attracting and retaining employees, and particularly young employees, whose entry into the industry is necessary to replace a workforce which is ageing and looking to retirement. Younger workers are deterred by poor industry image, more attractive career prospects in other industries (particularly mining), and lack of coordination and appropriateness of training regimes.’

Senate, Debates, 9 August 2007, p. 36.

August 2007

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile called for a review of safety at Avalon Airport after aviation identity Dick Smith claimed that an accident was imminent. In the previous week, Mr Smith, a member of the Aviation Regulation Review Taskforce, urgently called on Avalon to staff its air traffic control tower immediately to avoid an ‘inevitable collision’.

Stephen Moynihan and Mathew Murphy, ‘Crash warning sparks Avalon safety review’, The Sunday Age, 26 August 2007, p. 10.

18 August 2007

The Queensland Coroner found that a pilot of the Transair flight attempted an unauthorised manoeuvre, while an airline with a poor safety management system also contributed to the deaths of 15 people at Lockhart River in far north Queensland on 7 May 2005. The Coroner was critical of CASA’s monitoring of Transair, but found the regulator could not have prevented the crash.

AAP, ‘Coroner blames pilot and airline over 15 deaths’, Melbourne Age, 18 August 2007, p. 8.

Evan Schwarten, ‘Pilot error and airline to blame for Qld crash: Coroner’, The Canberra Times, 18 August 2007, p. 5.

20 August 2007

A China Airlines Boeing 737 caught fire at its Naha (Japan) Airport gate and was completely destroyed. The graphic event received global television coverage.

Anon, ‘China Airline flight 120 fire accident at Naha Airport’, YouTube, 21 August 2007..

September 2007

At the request of the Minister of Transport and Regional Services, the Hon Mark Vaile MP, the OAR completed an assessment of whether the measures put in place by Airservices Australia, as a result of their aeronautical study, were adequate to maintain an appropriate high level of safety given the continued expansion of traffic at Avalon Airport, Victoria. In November, it emerged that Avalon would become Melbourne's second international airport with owner Linfox to spend $30 million on a new passenger terminal.

Avalon Airspace Assessment, CASA website, accessed June 2008. John Masanauskas, ‘Avalon to go International’, Melbourne Herald Sun, 19 November 2007, p. 2.

16 September 2007

Thai airline One-Two-Go (Orient Thai) McDonnell Douglas MD-82 crashed at Phuket Airport killing 89 aboard. The budget carrier’s safety came under review, particularly as it was popular with Australian travellers. Concerns about ageing fleets prompted Thai and Indonesian authorities to propose a ban on the import of all aircraft more than 10 years old. One-Two-Go's ill-fated MD-82 was delivered from one of America's desert aircraft storage yards and dated from 1983.

Steve Creedy, ‘Crash airline has history of safety doubts’, The Australian, 18 September 2007, p. 10. Janet Fife-Yeomans, ‘Cut price disasters’, Daily Telegraph, 22 September 2007, p. 93 .

25 September 2007

Qantas staff mistakenly pumped nitrogen into a Boeing 747-300 emergency oxygen tank at Melbourne Airport, forcing an inspection of 51 other aircraft in its fleet. In later revealing the incident, CASA said that other airlines were also notified of the occurrence. The ATSB claimed to be not investigating the occurrence.

Leithen Francis, ‘Qantas error fills tanks with nitrogen’, Flight International, 17 January 2008, p. 10.

5 October 2007

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, announced a review of the relationship between CASA and the ATSB, with the aim of identifying potential areas for improved aviation safety outcomes through better co-operation and co-ordination. He announced that he had asked Mr Russell Miller AM, a senior partner with Minter Ellison to undertake the review. The review followed from the finding of the Coroner’s report into the Lockhart River crash of 18 August 2007. Mr Miller was to provide his report to Mr Vaile in December.

The Hon Mark Vaile MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Leader of the Nationals, ‘Vaile Announces Review of Air Safety Regulation and Investigation’, Media Release 158MV/2007, 05 October 2007.

25 October 2007

A Singapore Airlines A380-841 arrived at Sydney from Singapore as charity flight SQ380, the world’s first passenger flight of the A380 airliner. After a night in Sydney, it returned to Singapore also as flight SQ380.

Kurt Ams, ‘Airbus A380, world's biggest passenger jet, lands at Sydney airportAM, ABC Radio, 26 October 2007.

2 November 2007

Jetstar admitted that its communications with air safety investigators over a controversial missed approach by one of its planes at Melbourne Airport were inadequate. The ATSB revealed it did not initially probe an incident involving a Jetstar A320 on 21 July because information supplied by the airline five days later suggested that it was unnecessary.

Steve Creedy, ‘Jetstar admits it was slow to report missed approach’, The Australian, 2 November 2007, p. 38.

13 November 2007

Former CASA chairman Dick Smith threatened to sue air traffic control authorities unless they reversed a decision to close down 27 Flightwatch transmitters he said were essential to air safety. The transmitters provided weather and safety information to pilots. Mr Smith said their closure by Airservices Australia would be ‘an intolerable risk to public safety and a clear contravention of government policy’. The next day, Transport Minister Mark Vaile ordered Airservices Australia not to proceed with plans to shut down the Flightwatch transmitters.

Steve Creedy, ‘Smith ready to sue air agency’, The Australian, 13 November 2007, p. 9.

Cath Hart, ‘Vaile acts after Smith's warning on air safety’, The Australian, 14 November 2006, p. 8.

17 November 2007

A Virgin Blue Boeing 737 travelling from Coolangatta to Melbourne experienced a loss of cabin pressure and other failures. It diverted safely to Brisbane.

ATSB, ‘Investigation Number: AO-2007-062’, Aviation Safety Investigations and Reports, Canberra, November 2010.

23 November 2007

Singapore Airlines offshoot Tiger Airways commenced Australian domestic passenger operations using three Airbus A320 aircraft, with another two expected soon.

Mathew Murphy, ‘A new Tiger takes flight in domestic skies’, The Age, 24 November 2007.

7 January 2008

A Qantas Boeing 747 carrying 343 passengers lost electrical power to many onboard systems when descending into Bangkok and reverted to standby battery power to land safely. The power loss was said to arise from a water leak from the first class galley onto electrical circuits located below. Reports of other power failures appeared in the media while the seriousness of the incident created concerns. None of the passengers or crew were injured.

S Creedy, ‘Boeing probes power failure on Qantas 747’, The Australian, 11 January 2008, p. 28 and ATSB, ‘Investigation Number: AO-2007-003’, Aviation Safety Investigations and Reports, Canberra, December 2010.

13 January 2008

Qantas flight 93 Boeing 747 made an emergency landing in Hawaii after an oxygen leak. QF93 was carrying more than 200 passengers on the way from Melbourne to Los Angeles.

Stephen Moynihan, ‘New Qantas safety scare’, The Age, 18 January 2008, p. 8.

17 January 2008

As a British Airways Boeing 777-200ER approached London Heathrow Airport, its engines failed to respond to automatic and manual demands for more power. The crew landed the plane on grass, some 350m short of the runway but inside the airport fence, with all aboard safe. The cause was unclear.

Anon, ‘Accidents and Incidents Jan-Jun 08’, Flight International, 22 July 2008, pp. 56–57.

27 January 2008

Airspace at Canberra Airport was temporarily closed due to a shortage of air traffic controllers in Melbourne centre. The event followed other airspace closures in Canberra, Perth and Melbourne over the previous weeks. ASA blamed a worldwide shortage of air traffic controllers.

Natasha Rudra, ‘Sick day closes airspace’, Canberra Times, 30 January 2008, p. 3.

31 January 2008

Australia and Indonesia signed a transport safety agreement to help train Indonesian air safety inspectors. The deal came amid reports that Indonesian airline Lion Mentari Air was attempting to commence operation in Australia.

Greg Sheridan, ‘Deal with Indonesia to improve air safety’, The Australian, 30 January 2008, p. 1.

18 February 2008

Airservices Australia received the 34th annual Aviation Technology Achievement Award for 2008, by the United States-based Air Transport World Magazine, for its work in air traffic management, safety and the environment.


20 March 2008

The new Federal Government released for comment a   report written by Mr Russell Miller on the relationship between the ATSB and CASA. It mainly addressed matter of administrative functions and regulatory requirements, with 19 categories of recommendations.

Russell Miller, ATSB/CASA Review 2007: Report to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Local Government, Canberra.

20 March 2008

The Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (1999 Montreal Convention and Other Measures) Bill 2008 was introduced to create a two-tier system of liability designed to ensure that more equitable compensation was available to injured passengers.

J Tomaras, Bills Digest no. 99 2007–08, Parliamentary Library, Canberra 12 May 2008.

29 March 2008

Qantas flight 580 Boeing 747, flying from Perth to Sydney with 420 passengers, made a precautionary emergency landing when an external window in business class cracked.

Hannah Silverman, ‘Qantas plane forced to land’, Sunday Mail ADL, 30 March 2008, p. 27.

10 April 2008

The new Federal Government released for comment an issues paper directed ‘Towards a National Aviation Policy Statement’ and invited public comment. The paper was broad in coverage and scope to cover the gamut of industry, safety and infrastructure matters.


29 May 2008

The Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport resolved to conduct a formal inquiry into the administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and related matters, with a reporting date of 9 July 2008. The inquiry aimed to examine and assess the effectiveness of administrative reforms and governance undertaken in CASA since 2003 and its industry role.  

committee/ rrat_ctte/casa/tor.htm

9 May 2008

CASA released its report Assessment of Trends and Risk Factors in Passenger Air Transport which aimed to identify ongoing trends in aviation that could impinge on safety. The trends related to unprecedented global demand for aviation services, aircraft manufacturing and technical developments, airspace management, airport infrastructure, increased security, personnel issues and greater environmental awareness.

CASA, Media Release,Future aviation trends and safety risks identified’, 9 May 2008.

4 June 2008

The Aviation Legislation Amendment (International Airline Licences and Carriers' Liability Insurance) Bill 2008 was introduced to update the regulatory programs for the systems of International Airline Licences and mandatory carriers’ airline insurance.

PY Tan, Bills Digest no. 17 2008–09, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 4 September 2008.

10 June 2008

ATSB released the report Passenger health – the risk posed by infectious disease in the aircraft cabin.  The report found that passengers' health was not greatly at risk through air travel and widespread infections were unlikely and no more likely than in crowded places.


26 June 2008

ATSB released a report on Analysis, Causality and Proof in Safety Investigations. The ATSB claimed that analysis has been a neglected area in terms of standards, guidance and training of investigators in most organisations that conduct safety investigations.


26 June 2008

The Federal Government released the report of the Aviation Regulation Review Taskforce that was established by the previous government. The new government broadly accepted the 15 recommendations in the review report.


26 June 2008

The Aviation Legislation Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008 was introduced to relocate the power to enable Air Security Officers to lawfully discharge firearms on board aircraft from the Civil Aviation Act 1988 to the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004. (Became Act no. 86 of 2008)

PY Tan and M Biddington, Bills Digest no. 15 2008–09, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2 September 2008.

25 July 2008

Qantas Boeing 747-438 VH-OJK Flight 30 from Hong Kong to Melbourne experienced a fuselage rupture in the vicinity of the starboard wing root along with an explosive decompression. The plane made an emergency descent and later landed without incident at Manila Airport with all 365 aboard safe. On ground inspection revealed a gaping hole into the baggage hold up to 3m across and a missing oxygen cylinder. Parts of the cylinder were later found in places.

On 24 April, CASA had issued an Airworthiness Directive with an enforcement date of 5 June requiring urgent inspections of the supports that held oxygen bottles in place on Boeing 747’s although not the specific type involved here. On 28 July, CASA gave a new instruction for all oxygen bottles in 747’s to be checked. ATSB officials attended the aircraft in Manila to make a preliminary report.

ATSB, Media Release 2008/22, ‘Boeing 747 diversion to Manila’, 25 July 2008.

2 August 2008

Qantas flight 19 Boeing 767-300 carrying 200 passengers to Manila returned to Sydney after the pilot became aware of a hydraulic fluid leak that was visible to air traffic controllers on the ground.

Matthew Benns and Heath Gilmore, ‘Fluid leak raises alarm: QF19 dumps its fuel, turns back’, Sun Herald, 3 August 2008, p. 5.

4 August 2008

CASA set up a specialist six-member team, under Deputy Director headed by the authority's deputy chief executive for operations, Mick Quinn, to investigate Qantas after three in-flight safety incidents in the previous fortnight. The Flight Attendants Association of Australia's International Division wrote to the Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon, while the Australian and International Pilots Association general manager suggested concerns about whether "commercial factors" had come into play at Qantas with liberalisation and deregulation of the industry. The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said it would write to the CASA review on Qantas safety to ensure that any further job cuts did not undermine the airline’s levels of safety.

Mark Skulley, ‘CASA specialists to investigate Qantas’, Australian Financial Review, 4 August 2008. p. 3.

4 August 2008

The United States NTSB urged mandatory modification to Airbus A320 aircraft family power distribution systems after revealing 49 recorded instances, up to May 2007, of electrical bus failures that resulted in cockpit display losses and other effects.

David Kaminski-Morrow, ‘NTSB acts over A320 screen failures’, Flight International, 29 July 2008, p. 19.

6 August 2008

The Federal Government released a report on the nation's General Aviation industry - its current health and future challenges. The report written by the Strategic Industry Leaders Group said that while parts of the industry were growing and prospering, some smaller operators were struggling to remain viable. The commercialisation of general aviation airports; skill shortages; a complex regulatory environment; and the ageing of the small aircraft fleet were other issues.

Dr J Roland Williams CBE, The General Aviation Industry Action Agenda, Strategic Industry Leaders Group, Canberra 2008.

7 August 2008

A Canberra-bound Qantas Boeing 737 VH-TIU returned to the Melbourne terminal after odd air conditioning noises were heard. The plane had returned from maintenance in Malaysia two months previously with a reported 95 defects. The airline’s reputation became the subject of sustained media comment with every delay and maintenance incident seemingly in the daily media.

Jamie Duncan and Jeff Turnbull, ‘Jet in latest scare had long history of defects’, The Canberra Times, 8 August 2008, p.3.

9 August 2008

Qantas decided to cancel plans to send two more Boeing 737 aircraft to Malaysia for heavy maintenance checks after the first plane sent there in June returned with 95 defects and was grounded in Melbourne on 7 August. Malaysian airline authorities insisted that all such work had been conducted under Qantas oversight.

Jonathan Dart, ‘Qantas cancels overseas check-ups’, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 August 2008, p. 8. Steve Creedy, ‘Probe of Qantas in Malaysia’, The Australian, 11 August 2008, p.16.

10 August 2008

In a serious incident, a Virgin Blue Embraer E-170 jet with 55 passengers on board from Sydney was forced to make a high-speed landing without full wing flaps at Melbourne Airport. This was attributed to a faulty wing slat sensor.

Steve Creedy, ‘Virgin jet forced to land at high speed’, The Australian, 13 August 2008.

11 August 2008

CASA said that it had taken no decision on changing the procedures to be used in airspace when normal air traffic control services were not available. It said that a report in the Australian newspaper that procedures have been changed was not correct. The report said that CASA had decided to restrict the number of passenger jets in uncontrolled airspace by requiring ASA to declare a temporary restricted area when no controller is available. The article said that ASA blamed staff absences for the continuing problem, while the controller’s union blamed poor management. ASA maintained that the use of a procedure known as Traffic Information Broadcast by Aircraft (TIBA) - when air traffic control services were temporarily unavailable - was safe.

Cameron Stewart, ‘Air restrictions fly in face of safety claims’, The Australian, 11 August 2008, p.15. CASA, ‘No decision on changes to airspace procedures’, Media Release, 11 August 2008. ASA, ‘Airspace Procedure Assurance’, Media Statement, No. 07/08, 11 August 2008. Cameron Stewart, ‘CASA delays jet restrictions’, The Australian, 12 August 2008, p. 14.

12 August 2008

Qantas said that it would remove six B737-400 aircraft from service while it cross-checked maintenance records relating to aircraft modification work carried out at one of its Australian facilities. Commentator Crikey.com said that it was not yet known if the lack of maintenance documentation found by Qantas would identify a failure to complete compulsory work on the B737 nose bulkheads or not. Pressure bulkheads like those in the six temporarily grounded Qantas B737-400s were vital to safe flight. The overseas disasters listed herein for 12 August 1985 and 26 May 2002 were attributed to bulkhead losses.

Qantas Statement on B737 Records, Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3802), 12 August 2008. Ben Sandilands, ’13. Bulkhead blues another blow to Qantas' reputation’, Crikey.com, 13 August 2008.

20 August 2008

A Spanair MD-82 crashed at Madrid Airport Spain killing all 172 aboard, after an initial aborted take-off to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Spanair was owned by SAS.

Agencies, ‘Search for answers on Madrid crash’, The Australian, 22 August 2008, p. 11.

27 August 2008

The Aviation Legislation Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008 tabled. The bill aimed to permit air security officers to lawfully discharge their firearms on board an aircraft in Australian territory or on board an Australian aircraft in foreign territory.

House of Representatives, Hansard, 27 August 2008, p.6405.

27 August 2008

The Aviation Legislation Amendment (International Airline Licences and Carriers’ Liability Insurance) Bill 2008 tabled. It amended the Air Navigation Act 1920, the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959 and the Civil Aviation Act 1988. The bill introduced and amended measures in relation to international airline licences and carriers’ liability insurance.

House of Representatives, Hansard, 27 August 2008, p.6405.

1 September 2008

In response to the Qantas incidents of the previous two months, following a special review, CASA ordered Qantas to make a range of improvements to the way it managed and delivered aircraft maintenance. CASA said it would conduct two additional intensive audits of Qantas. The first would be a full maintenance audit of one aircraft of each major aircraft type in the Qantas fleet – a Boeing 747-400, 737-400 and 767-300.  The second audit would focus on the effectiveness of Qantas maintenance systems in managing and implementing airworthiness directives. CASA also called on Qantas to report on how the recent failures to fully comply with airworthiness directive requirements had been addressed.

The CASA review had found that maintenance performance within Qantas was showing some adverse trends and was now below the airline's own benchmarks. However, CASA said there has been no increase in the rate of incidents and over more than a year the number of monthly air safety incident reports was about the same.

CASA, ‘QANTAS safety review actions’, CASA media release, Monday 1 September 2008. Peter Lloyd, ‘Safer to fly now than the old days’, Canberra Times, 29 August 2008, p. 15. John Wood, ‘Sense of foreboding in the air as watchdog muzzled’, Canberra Times, 25 August 2008, p. 11. Gerard Frawley, ‘NOTAM–Safety Perceptions’, Australian Aviation, October 2008, p. 4.

18 September 2008

Tabling of the statement for the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport into CASA. The committee found that the CASA Regulatory Reform Program's (RRP) implementation had been deferred and delayed over past years and required conclusion as quickly as possible. With restructure, CASA had experienced a significant turn over in staff with a loss of technical expertise. The committee received a range of submissions in relation to CASA's move to become a partner with industry, rather than continuing with a more traditional regulatory approach. The report’s three recommendations related to issues of: strengthening CASA’s governance framework, conclusion of the RRP and, that the Australian National Audit Office audit CASA's implementation and administration of its Safety Management Systems approach.

Administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and related matters’. Peter Veness and Simon Jenkins, ‘Too close to airlines: report damns CASA’, Canberra Times, 19 September 2008, p. 3. Sophie Morris, ‘Senate hits CASA for cosying up’, Australian Financial Review, 19 September 2008, p. 9. Steve Creedy, ‘Senate slams safety watchdog for being too close to sector’, The Australian, 26 September 2008, p. 40.

26 September 2008

As part of a restructure, Qantas announced that Mr Lyell Strambi, then chief operating officer at Virgin Atlantic, would become executive general manager operations with ultimate responsibility for Qantas airline's engineering.

Mathew Murphy, ‘Qantas gives its management a safety overhaulThe Age, 27 September 2008, p. 3.

3 October 2008

CASA suspended for 40 days, for the second time in the year, the operations of Lip Air Pty Ltd, which traded as Aero Tropics Air Services, following engine failure in two separate incidents in the previous week.

CASA, ‘CASA suspends Far North Queensland airline’, Media Release, 4 October 2008.

6 October 2008

At 3.30 pm local time, Qantas Airbus A330–303 flight QF72 from Singapore to Perth made an emergency landing in Learmonth, WA with 303 passengers and 10 crew on board. The plane had to land because at 37,000 feet it unexpectedly pitched downwards for two periods of 20 and 16 seconds each, dropping hundreds of metres. The ATSB announced that it had identified a computer fault as the likely cause of the incident. Some 45 or so passengers were injured in the incident, 20 seriously. Qantas later agreed to compensate all of the traumatised passengers and offered them free flights. As serious injuries were incurred, this constituted an accident under the ICAO definition outlined in Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention and as defined in Australia’s Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

ATSB, ‘Qantas Airbus A330 accident Media Conference’, Media Release, 14 October 2008. Debbie Guest, Paige Taylor, ‘Qantas jet forced down with 36 injured’, The Australian, 14 October 2008, p.7. ATSB Media Release 2008/45, “ATSB Preliminary Factual Report, In-flight upset, Qantas Airbus A330, 154km west of Learmonth, WA, 7 October 2008”, 14 November 2008.

29 October 2008

Qantas Boeing 747–400 flight 12 from Los Angeles to Sydney lost en-route the use of its weather radar and instead flew in tandem with an Air New Zealand aircraft to reach Auckland safely. The Qantas jet later went on to Sydney.

Paul Bibby, “Qantas jet ‘flying blind’”, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 2008, p. 5.

13 November 2008

Qantas Airbus A330-300 flight 129 from Sydney to Shanghai was forced to turn around and return after its weather radar system became inoperative.

Paul Bibby, “Radar failure forces Qantas jet to turn back”, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 2008, p. 5.

18 November 2008

At Avalon Airport, two Qantas 747-400 aircraft in maintenance collided while under tow. One aircraft, VH-OJK recently returned from the Manilla in-flight incident, suffered damage to the nose, while the other VH-OJM incurred wing damage when it struck the former aircraft. Qantas announced that it had stood down the maintenance staff involved pending a review.

Wayne Flower and Geoff Easdown, ‘Qantas curse strikes again’, Herald-Sun, Wednesday, 19 November 2008, p. 10.

22 November 2008

At Sydney Airport, an aircraft engineer noticed that a taxiing Qantas 747 had a damaged wing flap. The flight to New Zealand was aborted and an investigation begun.

AAP, ‘Qantas flight cancelled after wing damage’, The Age, 22 November 2008.

27 November 2008

A three-year old Air New Zealand Airbus 320 leased to German carrier XL Airways crashed into the Mediterranean during a test flight off the south of France. The two XL Airways flight crew and five New Zealander officers on board the flight died. The disaster occurred 29 years to the day after the 28 November 1979 crash of an Air New Zealand DC10 into Mount Erebus in Antarctica, in which all 257 passengers and crew on the sightseeing flight were killed.


3 December 2008

The Aviation Legislation Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Bill 2008 was introduced to make four amendments relating to transport security and safety including certain prescribed aviation security information from aviation industry participants.

PY Tan, Bills Digest no. 86 2008–09, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2 February 2009.

15 January 2009

On leaving La Guardia Airport, US Airways Flight 1549 Airbus A320 lost power from both engines and ditched in the Hudson River, New York City after the pilot reported a "double bird strike" from a flock of geese. All 155 passengers and crew aboard were saved by craft in the river area.

NTSB, ID: DCA09MA026, NTSB Factual Report Aviation, National Transportation Safety Board, Washington, D.C., 2 July 2010.

27 February 2009

(Virgin) V-Australia received an air operator's certificate after undertaking proving flights for CASA. Boeing 777-300ER aircraft were to be used on the trans-Pacific route and the airline hoped to expand to South Africa.

V Australia, Australia's new international airline takes off: a new era for trans Pacific travel, media release, Sydney, 27 February 2009.

12 February 2009

The Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2009 was introduced to re-introduce a Board into the governing structure of CASA, and make improvements to the aviation safety regulatory regime under its Act.

M James and A Martyn, Bills Digest no. 102 2008–09, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 24 February 2009.

12 March 2009

The US based Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) absorbed the former local Aviation Safety Foundation Australasia office into a Pacific FSF regional base, its first outside the USA.

FSF, Flight Safety Foundation establishes new regional base in Australia, media release, 12 March 2009, Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

20 March 2009

At Melbourne Airport, an Emirates Airbus A340 scraped its tail along the tarmac and grassland beyond the runway, then hit airport landing lights and disabled a radio antenna before taking off. The pilots discovered an incorrect weight reading and thrust setting in the laptop computer, while they were circling Port Phillip Bay readying for an eventual safe emergency landing at Tullamarine.

ATSB, Tailstrike Melbourne Airport, Vic. 20 March 2009 A6-ERG Airbus A340-541, media release, 18 December 2009.

22 March 2009

A bikie brawl at Sydney Airport left one dead. Witnessed by many passengers checking in to domestic Qantas flights, the event called into question terminal security arrangements.

D Welch, L Kennedy and E Harvey, ‘Bikie killed in Sydney Airport brawl’, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 March 2009.

5 May 2009

At Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court, Jetstar was fined $148 500 for breaching the curfew at Sydney Airport in December 2007. Jetstar was the first Australian airline to be prosecuted and fined for breaching the curfew, albeit some 18 months after the event.

A Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional development and Local Government), Jetstar fined $148,500 for breach of Sydney airport curfew, media release, 05 May 2009.

18 May 2009

A Tiger Airlines A320 en-route from Mackay to Melbourne experienced oscillations from aileron faults and diverted to the Gold Coast. It transpired that a similar incident on the same plane in 2008 had not been reported. In its report, the ATSB noted that the operator had not complied with the incident reporting requirements of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

‘Tiger gets rap from ATSB’, Australian Aviation, October 2010, p. 34.

31 May 2009

Air France Airbus A330-200 Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared into the mid Atlantic Ocean with 228 people aboard. Investigators looked at technological malfunctions, beginning with the plane's speed sensors, combined with extremely stormy equatorial weather, as the cause of the crash.

Lost: The Mystery of Flight 447, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Two, 30 May 2010.

11 June 2009

A Jetstar A330 flight originating in Kansei Japan experienced a fire in the cockpit and diverted to Guam, where the 13 crew and 189 passengers disembarked safely with no reported injuries. The incident occurred at about 0220 in the overnight flight.

ATSB, In-flight windscreen fire in an Airbus A330 aircraft en route from Osaka, Japan to Coolangatta, Australia, media release, Canberra, 11 June 2009 and M Jenkins and P Veness, ‘Safety questions after Jetstar emergency’, Canberra Times, 12 June 2009, p. 3.

22 June 2009

A Qantas A330-300 Airbus flight bound for Perth from Hong Kong plunged suddenly, injuring seven people of 219 aboard. It occurred apparently because the plane did not detect ice clouds that caused turbulence.

 ‘No one to blame in Qantas Airbus plunge, report says’, Canberra Times, 1 July 2010, p. 10.

24 June 2009

The Aviation Transport Security Amendment (2009 Measures No. 1) Bill 2009 was introduced to to make changes to the existing Commonwealth aviation transport security regime relating to enabling regulations to be made to categorise airports in accordance with their relative risk profile and to increase the range of situations in which aviation security inspectors may enter premises.

A Martyn, Bills Digest no. 4 2009–10, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 27 July 2009.

1 July 2009

The ATSB became a statutory agency with a Commission structure on 1 July 2009. Legislative amendments to the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 to give effect to the governance changes had been passed by Parliament in March 2009.

I Macdonald, ‘Second reading speech: Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2009 and the Transport Safety Investigation Amendment Bill 2009’, Senate, Debates, 11 March 2009, pp. 1349–1351.

11 August 2009

Nine Australians and four other persons died on board an Airlines of Papua New Guinea Twin Otter flight CG4684 that crashed into rugged terrain. The ATSB assisted the PNG Accident Investigation Commission report.

I Gridneff, ‘PNG issues Kokoda air crash report: six-month wait for final findings’, Canberra Times, 19 September 2009, p. 10.

3 September 2009

In a breakdown of separation near Mildura, an air traffic controller failed to keep clear an Emirates Boeing 777 with 293 persons on board from a Qantas Boeing 737 with 150 people on board. The Qantas flight was tracking east to west from Sydney to Adelaide. The Emirates flight was tracking SSE to NNW from Melbourne to Singapore. The aircraft were on crossing tracks with both cruising at flight level (FL) 300. The ATSB found that the controller's technique for scanning and assessing traffic for conflicts was ineffective.

B Sandilands, ‘How Airservices Australia nearly killed 443 people’, Plane Talking Blog, 24 November 2010 and ATSB, ‘Investigation Number: AO-2009-056’, Aviation Safety Investigations and Reports, Canberra, 24 November 2010.

29 October 2009

The Aviation Transport Security Amendment (2009 Measures No. 2) Bill 2009 was introduced to enhance security earlier in the supply chain of cargo, and to enable certification of cargo at an appropriate point.

J Tomaras, Bills Digest no. 121 2009–10, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 25 February 2010.

30 November 2009

Staff from the United States Federal Aviation Administration visited Australia to look at aspects of Australia’s aviation safety regulation and safety oversight framework.

CASA, Australia’s air safety systems to be reviewed, media release, 27 November 2009.

16 December 2009

The Government released its aviation ‘White Paper’. Among safety issues covered:

•the long-ongoing CASA regulatory reform program would end in 2011;

• licensing and flight operations requirements to be finalised by the end of 2010;

• Air Traffic Management (ATM) was addressed with harmonisation of civil and military air traffic control (ATC), as well as moving airspace administration into closer alignment with the ICAO’s airspace system.

A Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government), ‘National aviation policy statement released’, media release, 16 December 2009 and M James and R Webb, Aviation white paper: an overview, Background Note, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 24 February 2010.

22 December 2009

In a breakdown of separation standards, at Dosam, Northern Territory, an Airbus A330 was southbound at FL370 and a Boeing 737 was northbound on the reciprocal track at non-standard FL370, before further intervention.

ATSB, ‘Investigation Number: AO-2009-080’, Aviation Safety Investigations and Reports, Canberra, November 2010.

13 January 2010

Amid claims that Vietnamese budget carrier Jetstar Pacific had repeatedly violated safety rules, local authorities detained some of its staff for a period.

S Creedy, ‘Jetstar standoff: safety cited’, The Australian, 13 January 2010, p. 5.

11 March 2010

The Transport Security Legislation Amendment (2010 Measures No. 1) Bill 2010 was introduced to increase the flexibility of the aviation transport security framework to rapidly respond to a security incident.

A Martyn, Bills Digest no. 141, 2009–10, Parliamentary Library, Canberra 2010.

4 May 2010

During an approach at Coolangatta Airport in Instrument Meteorological Conditions, an Air Asia X A330 aircraft went below the radar’s lowest safe altitude. On the previous day, a similar occurrence in Visual Meteorological Conditions occurred involving the same aircraft type. Subsequently the ATSB was notified of another occurrence involving the same aircraft type on 29 May 2010.

ATSB, ‘Investigation Number:AO-2010-027’, Aviation Safety Investigations and Reports, Canberra, November 2010.

11 May 2010

The Federal Budget provided an extra $90 million to CASA to recruit about 100 extra frontline staff, by increasing the aviation fuel excise. The Budget also provided almost $200 million for new and additional measures that were announced in the Aviation Security Package of 9 February 2010.

M James, Budget 2010–11: Science: Transport safety, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2010.

14 May 2010

A cooperation agreement for air traffic services was announced between the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Airservices Australia.

A Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport Regional Development and Local Government), Historic air traffic agreement between Airservices and RAAF, media release,, 14 May 2010.

22 May 2010

An Air India Express Boeing 737-800 careered off a Mangalore runway killing all 158 of the 166 aboard.

M Wade, ‘Fatal crash casts pall on Indian safety’, The Age, 24 May 2010, p. 12.

27 May 2010

A number of amendments were proposed to the Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness ([2006] Australian Treaty Series (ATS) 17) under the Agreement on the Promotion of Aviation Safety between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United States of America, better known as the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (See entry for 21 Jun 2005 above, [2006] ATS 16).

National Interest Analysis [2010] ATNIA 29 and Regulation Impact Statement [2010] ATNIF 30.

21 June 2010

A report was released that  reviewed the implications for flight crews on the copying or disclosing of cockpit voice recorder information, pursuant to section 4 of the Aviation Legislation Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Act 2009.

Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Privacy and cockpit voice recorder information, a report to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, The Commissioner, Canberra, 2010.

23 June 2010

Boeing issued a worldwide alert about the possibility of structural cracking near 767 engine mounts, requiring special inspections.

A Pasztor, ‘Cracks in 767s alarm Boeing’, The Australian, 23 June 2010, p. 40.

28 June 2010

An Airblue A321 flight crashed at Islamabad airport as the first controlled flight into terrain crash of a plane fitted with a warning system.

 ‘Global airline accident and safety review for 2010’, Flight International, 18 January 2011.

2 July 2010

The Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport report Inquiry into the effectiveness of Airservices Australia’s management of aircraft noise was released. It particularly focused on community consultation needs and the Noise Ombudsman.

Report tabled, Senate, Debates, 28 September 2010, p. 34.

31 August 2010

A Qantas Boeing 747 flying from San Francisco to Sydney suffered an uncontained engine failure. The 230 aboard returned safely to the originating airport.

‘Qantas 747 forced back after engine failure’, Australian Aviation, October 2010, p. 34.

29 September 2010

The Aviation Crimes and Policing Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 was re-introduced (originally on 23 June 2010) to create new aviation-related criminal offences, increased penalties and police powers.

A Martyn, Bills Digest no. 41 2010–11, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2010.

30 September 2010

The Senate Standing Committee on Rural Affairs and Transport commenced an inquiry into pilot training and airline safety that included the Transport Safety Investigation (Incident Reports) Bill 2010. Matters considered were flight hour requirements on safety; training standards, CASA oversight and aspects of the Jetstar incident at Melbourne airport on 21 June 2007, and the Tiger Airways incident, en route from Mackay to Melbourne, on 18 May 2009. The Private Senator’s Bill sought to impose a penalty on any persons who improperly influenced a ‘responsible person’ reporting an incident to aviation authorities, in the context that airlines were preventing airline staff from reporting events.

Senate, Debates, 30 September 2010, p. 361.

30 September 2010

The Airports Amendment Bill 2010 was introduced into Parliament to implement parts of the airport planning policies that were set out in the 2009 National Aviation Policy White Paper.

M Coombs, Bills Digest no. 25 2010–11, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2010 and Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, Airports Amendment Bill 2010 [Provisions], 18 November 2010.

28 October 2010

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in a performance audit reported on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA)) implementation and administration of the regulation of aircraft operators’ Safety Management Systems. It noted the CASA intention to complete the Regulatory Reform Program by the end of 2011.

The Auditor-General, Implementation and Administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Safety Management System Approach for Aircraft Operators, Audit Report no. 13, 2010–2011, ANAO, Canberra, 2010.

4 November 2010

A Qantas Airbus A380 experienced an uncontained engine explosion and resultant wing damage after leaving Singapore for Sydney. Pieces of debris hit Batam Island, Indonesia. The jet returned safely to Singapore and the Qantas A380 fleet was grounded for three weeks to allow for investigation. The Rolls Royce Trent engine involved appeared to have a design fault. The ATSB later recommended that Rolls-Royce address the safety of oil feed stub pipes in transport aircraft equipped with the Trent 900 series engines. On 2 December 2010, CASA issued a direction to Qantas to conduct a further inspection of the Trent 900 engines on A380 aircraft. It also became clear that, but for the fortuitous presence of extra crew in the cockpit able to assist with the emergency workload, the fate of the 469 aboard could have had a much more serious outcome. The event received global interest and coverage as this was the first major incident to occur to an A380.

ATSB, ‘Recommendation issued to: Rolls-Royce’, Aviation Safety Recommendations and Advisory Notices, Canberra, December 2010 and ATSB, Investigation Number: AO-2010-089, Aviation Safety Investigations and Reports, Canberra, 3 December 2010 and G Norris, J Flottau and M Kingsley-Jones, ‘Uncontained failure: A380 drama raises scrutiny of Trents, Airbus airframe’, Aviation Week and Space Technology, v. 172, no. 41, 15 November 2010, pp. 28–30 and J Flottau, R Wall and A Schofield, ‘High pressure: leaking oil pipes identified as likely cause of Qantas A380 near-accident in Singapore’, Aviation Week and Space Technology, v. 172, no. 43, 29 November 2010, pp. 32–33 and  CASA, Direction for new A380 inspections, media release, 2 December 2010.

6 November 2010

A Qantas Boeing 747 experienced a contained engine failure after leaving Singapore, the jet returned safely to Changi Airport. (The author was aboard the prior flight).

G. Tippett, ‘Deja vu as woes hit Qantas again’, Sunday Age, 7 November 2010, p. 4.

26 November 2010

Jetstar dismissed a first officer, Joe Eakins, who had raised safety issues and such matters in an opinion piece in October published by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

S Scott, ‘Jetstar pilots up in arms’, Australian Financial Review, 26 November 2010, p. 19 and Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), Victory for commonsense, Whistleblower pilot reinstated by Jetstar, media release, 21 December 2010.

5 December 2010

A Qantas Boeing 767 and a Virgin Blue Boeing 737 pass within separation standards above Melbourne Airport. The ATSB classified it as a ’serious incident’ in controlled space.

A Heasley, ‘Qantas, Virgin planes in near miss’, The Age, 9 December 2010 and ATSB, ‘Investigation Number: AO-2010-104’, Aviation Safety Investigations and Reports, Canberra, December 2010.

19 December 2010

A Jetstar Airbus A330 flying from Bali to Melbourne made a safe emergency landing at Adelaide Airport after an engine failed in mid-flight.

A Dowsley, ‘Jetstar Airbus diverted after engine malfunction’, Herald Sun, 20 December 2010, p. 2.

16 January 2011

A Qantas Boeing 747 about to depart Sydney for Los Angeles experienced a ‘low-speed engine failure’.

Qantas engine cooks itself’, Canberra Times, 17 January 2011, p. 3.

18 January 2011

A Qantas Boeing 747 from Sydney to Los Angeles was diverted to Fiji for engine repairs after a warning about a faulty fuel valve. It was the eighth such event in a year or so.

B Sandilands, ‘Plane Talking: Qantas battles safety perceptions of its own making’, Crikey website, 19 January 2011 and S Creedy, ‘Another hitch for Treasurer—and Qantas’, Australian, 20 January 2011, p. 8.



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