The culture of dangerous and lying incompetency in air traffic  control in Australia has been exposed by the ABC after taking out a Freedom of Information application which led to its publishing details of internal CASA investigations of AirServices Australia’s shortcomings this morning.

The documents released to the ABC show that for years Australia has tolerated a situation in which foreign airlines flying to Australian airports have been denied the safe and efficient air traffic control procedures expected under international safety rules.

The safety of passengers using Australian carriers and on domestic routes has been similarly exposed in recent years to significant safety risks from a lack of training and necessary skills in air traffic controllers and in many instances, to the perils of self-separation of airliners in airspace where staff shortages meant air traffic control had been suspended.

AirServices image of its Sydney tower control room

And as longer term readers of Plane Talking will know, Airservices Australia consistently lied about the deficiencies and incidents that arose because of its inability to provide for the safe separation of airliners on many occasions while these matters were variously ignored or regarded as being too hard to address by the government and opposition.

Among the many such reports was this one about Airservices directing two domestic 737 flights onto a collision course in 2011 after an inadequately trained controller was turned loose on one of Australia’s busiest routes between Brisbane and the Sydney and didn’t understand what was going on or what he had done until urgently reminded of his errors by the Qantas pilot at the controls of one of the jets.

On 28 September last year Airservices Australia lost a Virgin Australia 737 flying between Sydney and Brisbane for most of its flight and then lied to the media about the incident.

The current situation is that Airservices maintains that it is implementing all of the recommendations made by CASA.

AirServices Australia cannot be trusted to do these things. It must be placed under intense surveillance and continuously audited as to its progress in bringing the country’s air traffic control up to consistently applied first world standards, and the travelling public deserves to be kept fully informed as to the progress being made.

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