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air safety

Dec 25, 2012

No Barrier to safety in North Queensland skies

The festive season grounding of tiny Barrier Aviation in Queensland is not a matter of size but the integrity of the ENTIRE air safety system in Australia.

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Sightseeing flight on Barrier Aviation site

The grounding of Barrier Aviation in far northern Queensland on Sunday might not at first sight seem as disruptive at the pre-Christmas grounding of  improperly maintained Ansett 767-200s back in 2000, but it is exceedingly important.

Small third level regional carriers are crucial parts of the aviation food chain. If unsafe practices persist at that level they ultimately kill, as well as undermine the credibility and integrity of the air safety regulation in this country.

Barrier’s network is extensive even though its aircraft are tiny, and there are alternative operators who will no doubt ensure that its disappearance has minimal consequences for travellers and remote communities in the state and PNG.

There will be controversy no doubt over Barrier’s record, and the oversight performed by CASA.  But at the outset, CASA needs to be given the space in which to carry out its obligations, and any claims or counter claims can be sorted out by litigation later.

CASA has removed until February what it sees as an imminent threat to public safety. It’s what they are paid to do.

PS Barrier hasn’t spoken to the media yet. However this note appears on its website, which also features a flying instruction introduction deal

A CASA approved testing officer is on staff, ensuring all our staff and flight crew maintain the very high levels of safety and professionalism that our clients have come to expect from us.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

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