Flight Deck Access Regulations Rejected By Australian Senate


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Flight Deck Access Regulations Rejected By Australian Senate

Eddy Metcalf

July 26, 2010 - The Australian government reintroduction of changes to the Australian Aviation Transport Regulations preventing licensed pilots accessing the flight deck and transferring legal liability from airlines to pilots, was rejected on Friday in the Senate by the cross benches and opposition for the second time in a year.

The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) has described the Senate’s actions today as a victory for common sense and expressed the hope that the Government’s futile attempts to push through this ill advised regulatory reform were now at an end.

Pilots were concerned that the resubmitted Regulations were very similar, but more draconian, to those that were rejected in the Senate last year.  The development of these Regulations was again conducted in secret and without consultation with regulators, airlines or pilots. The security regulations as they stood would have impacted on safety.


Many had believed the Aviation Transport Security Amendment Regulations offer some sound legislation. However, there were two provisions within the bill that pilots and trade unions find unacceptable. Under section 4.67E of the Aviation Transport Security Amendment Regulations, it would prevent licensed pilots from accessing a flight deck if they are not on a company list and transfer safety breaches of the cockpit from airlines to the pilots. See Australian Pilots Say Bill Will Criminalize Pilots Decrease Air Safety.

AIPA President Captain Barry Jackson appealed to the Federal government to commit to real consultation with the industry in the future. “We are seeing a worrying trend of announcements from this Government that appear as a bolt from the blue and do not have any input from the aviation industry.”

“Minister Albanese’s renewed attempts at changing flight deck access is one example. Another is the announcement earlier this week of heightened aviation security breach penalties announced by Minister Brendan O’Connor. Minister Albanese needs to get out of our flight decks and we will get out of Parliament.”

“AIPA is grateful that the cross benches and opposition, in particular Senator Xenophon, have had the consistency to reject these regulations for a second time and we hope today’s decision by the Senate will illustrate clearly to this Government that it needs to improve its stakeholder consultation.”


“Minister Albanese has had these regulations rescinded before in the Senate and for good reason. In moving a disallowance motion on these regulations in the Senate last September, Senator Nick Xenophon described them as ‘internationally unprecedented and unacceptable. So today’s Senate outcome was predictable given the history of this issue.”

Legal advice prepared by one of Australia’s leading Senior Counsel, Bret Walker, had previously confirmed AIPA’s view that the regulations were both inappropriate and unnecessary. The Association had also commissioned an independent security risk specialist to investigate and debunk the Regulation’s premise that pilots travelling in flight deck jump seats were a safety and security threat.


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