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15 February

Conference week is less than four months away. It’s coming around quicker this year as we are holding it a lot earlier than normal: a product of the Christchurch earthquakes is that premium venue locations in the South Island are in short supply.
 
Dunedin’s the location this year in the refurbished town hall with “after match” functions at the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Town Hall, Etrusco, and Larnach Castle. We’re also looking to see if we can charter the Taieri Gorge Train for the Friday afternoon if people are interested.
 
Our theme this year is “One Industry One voice” and we’ll have a very heavy focus on sharing critical safety lessons as well as in depth information on growth opportunities in key sectors by markets, including the South Pacific.
 
We will be attracting key decision makers from South East Asia as part of the initiatives we are taking in Indonesia, India and Singapore. Conference outline click here
 
Don’t forget we are offering loyalty discounts for conference delegates and 15% discounts on trade stands booked and paid for before 1 April. Click here
 
HAI in Las Vegas is less than three weeks away and we have a very strong contingent of operators and suppliers attending the helicopter industry’s foremost global show.  We’ve got a New Zealand showcase evening and we’ll be building on this as we go into a programme of leveraging our America’s cup campaign. If you’re looking to build on strong existing relationships and new relationships the America’s cup aviation campaign creates an opportunity to get to the premier decision makers across all sectors of the industry.
 
CAA’s decision to decline our Medical Exemption application click here has some positives and potentially significant changes for industry. On page 1 the Director comments, “I agree that there is likely to be little difference in the overall safety outcomes with the medical decision making associated with the issue of an ICAO compliant medical certificate in each jurisdiction.” What they are saying is that the petition does not undermine the big safety goal i.e. aviation safety. 
 
The Director goes on to say medical certificates are granted in terms of Section 2A of the Act and thus he must decline our application because his administrative ability to remove a medical certificate would be undermined if the application were to be granted. While we could debate this conclusion (and personally the “Boots” thinks not enough weight has been put on Section 10 of the Act “Fit and Proper person test” and the Director’s associated powers) on page six of the letter the Director focuses on the essence of our concerns and that is the efficiency of the medical certification regime.
 
“I feel there is thus an obligation on the CAA to do all it reasonably can to reduce the costs upon which the fee is based while maintaining the integrity of New Zealand’s aviation medical certification regime.
 
DCA goes onto propose a meeting in March with key participants in industry to examine options to reduce costs. The “Boots” understands all matters are on the table short of an overhaul of the framework we presently have.   We’d be interested in hearing your ideas including full devolution of the present certification system to an alternative service provider, alignment with credible efficient certification systems, alternative delivery mechanisms etc. Our ultimate objective must be to have the most cost effective compliant system with minimal charges. By comparison, Australia charges its pilots around $NZ100 to maintain their systems and we’ve got to be a lot more efficient than that – it’s about competing smartly while still delivering globally compliant practices.
 
Acting as a responsible and constructive advocate of change, using processes and systems provided for in our existing legislation has got us a long way to where we want to be. DCA is on notice that our focus is not simply pilot medical costs but equally the “over the top” hourly rate charges. We believe CAA is listening very carefully to our concerns and as conveyed a fortnight ago, have already commenced a first principles review of charging.  We would like to be a partner in that review and will continue to quietly discuss with the key money agencies – MOT and Treasury, why a $280 hourly rate charge is simply bad business.   
 
We continue to seek assurances over LIB 4.  Further assurances were given this week that LIB 4 is not being acted on by CAA but there was an acknowledgement that other customers (i.e. government agencies) may be acting on the CAA’s interpretation.  Assuming this is so then this creates a level of uncertainty and increases the urgency with which this matter must be resolved. CAA accepted this point and will accelerate the opinion they are seeking from their reviewer.
 
One further point worrying the “Boots” is that there seems to be some serious debate afoot for the new health and safety agency to take over all aspects of aviation HSE regulation. Now, as the boots has pointed out many times, there is only one accident and perhaps someone can explain how having two regulatory agencies with very different and almost diametrically opposed views of what drives superior safety outcomes is good for aviation safety.  In an environment where the concept of “corporate manslaughter” is gaining political traction, the whole culture driving aviation safety could be seriously compromised.
 
Next week we’ll be busy with our Board and Advisory Committee meetings in Auckland and NZAAA, NZHA and Flight Training meeting in Wellington. The week after AEANZ meet to further the development and expansion of that group.
 
March 1st sees us meeting with Officials from MOT, TEC and MoE …and on that note a great joke click here


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