Keith Pitt criticises CASA process

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA) placement of operating limitations on Jabiru engines has been labelled “despotic” by Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.

Mr Pitt said CASA had formally issued Precautionary Operational Limitations on Saturday on all aircraft with Jabiru engines, preventing them from flying at night or over populated areas. CASA has given Jabiru owners until January 31 to relocate their aircraft to airfields with unpopulated flight paths.

While Jabiru’s manufacturing base has remained in Bundaberg since the company was founded in 1988, there are thousands of Jabiru aircraft and engines in airports and hangars around the world. 

“I recognise CASA is best placed to make decisions about aircraft safety, but their handling of this particular matter has been absolutely appalling. The process has been despotic and heavy-handed,” Mr Pitt said.

“CASA was aware of incidents dating back as far as 2012, yet they waited until four weeks out from Christmas – some two years later – to issue a consultation draft, and allowed only one week for submissions.

“After much criticism from the manufacturer, flight training schools and aircraft owners, CASA extended the consultation period by a week.

“CASA received an astounding 632 responses in 14 days. I find it unlikely that CASA could properly process and assess all of the submissions within three weeks.

“I’ve been working very closely with Rodney Stiff OAM from Jabiru and the Deputy Prime Minister’s office on this matter, and have received briefings from CASA.”

Mr Pitt said Jabiru aircraft primarily operated in regional Australia, making transport easier for people travelling vast distances.

“A significant number of people are employed by this family-owned manufacturer, both directly and indirectly,” he said.  

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814