Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

NZALPA’s submission on the Civil Aviation Bill exposure draft

David Reynolds, NZALPA Senior Technical Officer, discusses NZALPA’s submission. 

NZALPA has now lodged its submission on the Civil Aviation Bill exposure draft. 

The Bill replaces the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and the Airport Authorities Act 1966 with a single new statute that includes proposals to update and improve the safety, security and efficiency of the New Zealand civil aviation system. This is one of, if not the most, important pieces of legislation in New Zealand in terms of civil aviation.

An exposure draft is used by government to identify and resolve practical problems with changes to legislation before it is made or introduced to Parliament. It can be particularly helpful for complex or technical regulatory requirements, such as those in civil aviation regulation. 

NZALPA met with Transport Minister Phil Twyford as well as Ministry of Transport officials in the lead up to the publication of the exposure draft. 

Our submission is available on the NZALPA website and can be read HERE. Some of the key points from the submission are summarised below. 

In NZALPA’s view: 

  • An update of the Civil Aviation Act is overdue and the amalgamation of this Act and the Airport Authorities Act 1966 is logical. 
  • This is a rare opportunity to take steps to achieve the highest levels of aviation safety driven by a framework which fully encompasses the principles of a ‘Just Culture1 throughout all aspects of aviation in New Zealand.
  • All accident and incident investigation should be carried out by a totally independent investigative body in strict accordance with the internationally recognised ‘Standards and Recommended Practices’ of ‘ICAO Annex 13 Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation2’.
  • It is imperative that all safety related flight data and recordings are protected in law and not used punitively against an individual or organisation. This information should be fully protected against inappropriate use or release. 
  • It is crucial that legislation is sufficiently robust so as to provide for the safe integration of unmanned/remotely piloted aircraft or drones into the aviation system. 
  • In the absence of a pilot within an aircraft, the duties, powers and obligations of the pilot-in-command should fall to the operator/s of the aircraft as occurs with conventionally piloted aircraft and as defined in ‘ICAO Annex 1 Personnel Licencing’ which provides a definition of a ‘remote pilot-in-command’. 
  • While supporting the principle of the ‘Clear Heads’ scheme in relation to a drug and alcohol-free aviation system, NZALPA believes the legislation must also address the effects of fatigue on the performance of participants in a similar way to drugs and alcohol. The cumulative effects of fatigue pose at least as great a threat of impairment as drugs and alcohol.
  • The medical certification process is critical to ensuring the safety of the civil aviation system. NZALPA does not believe that this process is undermined by the existing requirement to prove intention in any falseness. A Just Culture principle must apply when considering any misleading or false statements made when applying for a medical certificate. 
  • The threat to aviation security remains significant in New Zealand and NZALPA supports improvements to legislation that will enhance the safety of the aviation system including the passage of passengers and goods by air.
  • Notwithstanding that, NZALPA is concerned that sub-contracting and cost cutting may lead to an associated reduction in security service levels. 
  • If the level of security threat justifies the use of armed Inflight Security Officers (also known as sky marshals) for security mitigation, then NZALPA believes the level of risk for that flight means it cannot operate safely and therefore should not operate. 

We are planning further meetings with the Ministry of Transport as part of the submissions process and our wider ongoing dialogue with them. We will keep members updated on developments. 

1 Just Culture - Read more HERE.

2 ICAO - Read more HERE.



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