Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Dr Graham Braithwaite, Director, Cranfield Safety and Accident
Investigation Centre, Department of Air Transport, Cranfield University
Further to the evidence which I presented to
the Transport Committee on 25 January 2006, I wish to add a note
of clarification to my answer to Q407, which was interrupted by
Mr Leech and therefore left incomplete.
Following its conversion to a Government Business
Enterprise in the early 1990s, the Australian Civil Aviation Authority
went through what was described to a subsequent House of Representatives
Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure
as the slash and burn period" of regulation. This period
saw staff reduce from 7,332 in 1991 to 3,641 in 1996 (safety regulation
went from 727 to 434).
This change was followed by two high-profile,
fatal aircraft accidents involving public transport aircraft;
at Young in 1993 and en route to Lord Howe Island in 1994.
The investigation into the former concluded that one of the significant
factors leading to the accident was a difference between the corporate
mission statement of the Authority, which placed a clear primacy
on safe air travel, and that of the Safety Regulation and Standards
Division which appeared to emphasise the viability of the industry
as its major concern."
Another accident in 1994, which involved a Boeing
747 aircraft landing at Sydney with its nose wheel retracted,
further highlighted problems with regulatory oversight within
the Civil Aviation Authority. Indeed the Bureau of Air Safety
Investigation's report concluded that The organisational climate
prevailing in the Civil Aviation Authority at the time was biased
towards commercial considerations rather than ensuring regulatory
compliance and safety."
These events contributed to the separation of
the CAA into Airservices Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety
Authority in 1995.
2 February 2006