||Issue No. 324||15 September 2006|
Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
Unions: Industrial Wasteland
International: Two Bob's Worth
Economics: National Interest
Environment: The Real Dinosaur
History: Only In Spain?
Review: Clerk Off
Air Safety Crashes
For the first time, planes will be able to operate in Australia without meeting our strict guidelines, under Mutual Recognition legislation passed by the federal government this week.
The move - which allows New Zealand-registered planes to fly into Australia and also operate domestic routes without being issued an Air Operator Certificate here - is bad news for pilots, air crews and passengers, warns Peter Somerville of the Australian and International Pilots Association.
"The federal government is setting off down the path of abandoning
Australia's world-best safety regime and allowing the importation of lower
international standards," Somerville says.
Transport Minster Warren Truss has dismissed differences in safety regimes between Australia and New Zealand as 'details'. But their significance shouldn't be understated, says Somerville.
New Zealand airlines don't require the same number of cabin staff as Australian carriers and allow for different take-off speeds and passenger thresholds.
The armed air marshals used on Australian planes to boost security are banned from New Zealand-registered planes.
The long-term impact of this development will be the continuing downgrading of aviation safety, says Somerville.
"Historically Australian aviation safety has been the best in the world, we have gone beyond minimum international standards.
"Operators are looking to compete on cost and you can bet your bottom dollar as soon as New Zealand-registered planes are operating here with cost advantages obtained through lower safety standards, Australian operators will want the same."
The Mutual Recognition Act stems from the Closer Economic Relations pact between Australia and New Zealand.
"It puts marginal improvements in economic relations ahead of air safety," says Somerville.
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