AEA South Pacific Update

As submitted by Bruce Baxter, AEA South Pacific regulatory consultant

SUMMARY: The South Pacific region is experiencing turmoil resulting from a number of events in the industry that have caused significant concern for AEA members.

These events can be divided into smaller, more defined units as follows:

  • The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is eliminating all of the current regulations and replacing them with an Australianised version of EASA regulations. While many AEA members agree that some sort of regulatory change is necessary, they do not believe CASA’s direction will provide them with sustainable growth in their businesses and it will add significant costs for compliance with no additional safety benefit. Figures in excess of $70,000 have been estimated — and all this in a downturned economy and a shrinking customer base.

  • Air Services Australia has increases pressure to introduce ADS-B. While AEA members support the ADS-B mandate, there is concern regarding the timeline for fitment and the availability of competitive products.
  • The decline of general aviation in Australia is a major concern for AEA members. For example, the federal government has privatised many of the secondary and smaller airports, resulting in the operators of these airports having limited knowledge in the correct operation of an airport. The cost of leasing airport space suddenly has increased at a rate not in step with regular commercial rates in the area. Some members report a 300 percent increase in a 12-month period. In addition, few new people are entering the industry either as pilots or maintenance personal. The list goes on.

The AEA has been quite active in addressing the concerns of its members in the following ways:

  • The AEA retains its seat on the CASA Maintenance Subcommittee working to influence the regulatory process to include a workable GA component. However, the group has creased meeting physically, with most of its work now done online. The AEA continues to push the GA barrow for its members through this forum.
  • 12 October 2010: Air Services Australia invited the AEA to attend the ASTR Surveillance Technologies Working Group as an observer, providing input into the ADS-B and satellite-based navigation white paper. Unfortunately, because of short notice and difficult travel arrangements to Canberra, Bruce Baxter, AEA South Pacific regulatory consultant could not attend. However, it was considered important enough to have an AEA representative at the meeting with the express focus of gaining the AEA a permanent seat on the committee. Under direction from Michael Kus, AEA’s South Pacific director, Gordon Cox from Avionics 2000 attended in Baxter’s absence and was successful in getting the ASTRA Plenary to include the AEA as a member and for Bruce Baxter to represent the AEA at future meetings.

  • 26/27 October 2010:  Bruce Baxter attended the GA Revitalisation Forum in Bankstown. Paul Tyrrell, CEO of the Regional Airline Association of Australia, discussed this event during the AEA South Pacific Meeting in September in Coolum.
  • In addition to Bruce Baxter, AEA representation at the meeting also included Gordon Cox of Avionics 2000 and Peter Flanagan of Pacific Avionics. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was decided a six-member committee would be formed from the 30 attendees. Flanagan formally nominated Baxter, and the nomination was accepted by the room. The committee is in the process of documenting the resolutions from this meeting, and the AEA will forward those to its members when available.

Contact Ric Peri, AEA vice president of government and industry affairs, by email at or by phone at 202-589-1144.