Two Situations—should the international CAA audit criteria be revised based on Lessons?

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ARTICLE: CASA faces change as it loses trust

ARTICLE: Emirates’ Clark Sees MH370 Investigation Deficiencies


These two articles raise serious questions about the competency of two Civil Aviation Authorities. The subject of international audits of CAAs has been explored and the tension between a sovereign questioning the competence of another government has been noted / . Whether such a review can truly be probing is latent in these commentaries. As a predicate, it is important to note that both ICAO and the FAA have found the above two CAAs to be acceptable.

The first link is to a caustic review of Australia’s CAA (CASA). An independent review found that the relationship between the regulator and the regulated was so toxic that the trust between these two parties was negative. While it is possible to argue that hardline enforcement may be appropriate, this study clearly finds that CASA’s stance was inappropriate. The country is considering what changes may be necessary. One critic even suggested that Australia should look to New Zealand for a model

The second article is far more disturbing. There the CEO of the largest B-777 operator questions the transparency of the Malaysian investigation of MH-370. He finds it incredible that the aircraft disappeared over that country’s radar coverage and he is incredulous that the cockpit crew could have disabled three systems which would have tracked the missing aircraft. Perhaps the international protocol does not examine in such depth the accident investigation procedures and personnel to discover the deficiencies (attitudes?) of which Mr. Clark has complained, but the apparent lack of transparency is most troublesome.

The international regime, in which ICAO, FAA and/or EASA review the policies, procedures and personnel of the world’s CAAs, is now a major safety net for travelers. These two independent critiques of “acceptable” CAAs involve very sophisticated questions of the respective competencies. Should the “guidelines” for these reviews be revised to include the lessons from these two situations?

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