Review of New Australian Fatigue Rules Under Way

The Australian safety agency is weighing whether to hold off on the effective date.

Australia’s new duty- and flight-time rules to prevent fatigue of pilots in commercial operations are scheduled to take effect October 31, but a review of them by an independent organization contracted by the country’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) already is recommending 24 changes, including “a freeze of the transition dates for the implementation of the new fatigue rules and the adoption of a staggered approach to implementation and transition.” The rules cover all commercial operations, including air-taxi and charter.

Other recommendations include more closely aligning flight- and duty-period limits with international averages, creating two tiers of fatigue risk management system requirements, providing additional flexibility for operators using the prescriptive limits, and removing or revising the requirements for aerial application operations.

Comments on the review are being sought before CASA decides whether a change to the rules’ effective date is warranted. “This is the time for industry stakeholders to raise any implementation issues and provide feedback to CASA on the highest priorities for action.”

However, as a result of contracting for the review, CASA recently rescinded an initial mandate that would have had the new rules apply immediately for newly certified operators, and in preparation to operate under the new requirements to submit their draft operations manual changes or an application for a fatigue risk-management system to CASA by April 30.