CASA follows FAA collaboration/cooperation approach over hard enforcement

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Australia Adopts Kinder, Gentler Approach To Regulatory Enforcement

CASA decides to move from Enforcement to Data Sharing/Collaborative/Cooperation approach

Cites FAA transition 

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority is similar to the FAA’s organization and mission.  CASA has followed the general directive of ICAO and the example of the FAA by implementing Safety Management Systems. Many critics of this data-based methodology have suggested that by concentrating on metrics and removing the inspectors from airline ready rooms, airport ramps and the field, safety will diminish. The track record, so far, has sided with SMS.

SMS chart

CASA’s Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, having implemented SMS and having seen the results in the operations within his authority’s jurisdiction, is taking

the next step in the “organization development” associated between the regulator and the regulated. In particular, because data and information are exposed to CASA staff in a safety data collection system (e.g., safety management system) or in that it may have been acquired in the normal course of surveillance, the SMS principles mandate that that “evidence” will not be used for enforcement.  In recognition of the cooperation and collaboration which are essential elements to this program, he has issued the following policy statement:

“individuals and organizations found to have violated a provision of the safety rules will be given 
an opportunity to address and correct safety issues without CASA initiating enforcement action,”

As with other SMS regimes, enforcement is an option for criminal conduct and for recurrent, deliberate, negligent noncompliance, especially actions/nonactions which pose a serious and imminent risk to safety.


Mr. Carmody’s instructions to his staff included the following explanation:


In 2015, the FAA adopted a new regulatory philosophy limiting enforcement action to circumstances of 
“deliberate, willful or reckless breach of the aviation safety rules. . . a pattern of repeated 
misconduct or. . . failure to take appropriate corrective action... .” According to one recent 
official agency public address, the number of FAA enforcement actions has decreased 70% since 
this compliance policy has been adopted. 

The FAA’s adoption of SMS, under the leadership of Associate Administrator Gilligan, met the confluence of multiple FAA needs and realities. CASA’s adoption of the same “kinder, gentler” philosophy is further validation of this SMS cooperation/collaboration is correctly designed.




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