Feb 22, 2011

Parliamentary inquiry into aircraft cabin crew ratios

Parliamentary inquiry into aircraft cabin crew ratios

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

February 22 2011

I have asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications to inquire into cabin crew ratios on Australian commercial passenger aircraft.

Safety and security are the Gillard Labor Government’s first priority in aviation.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has been considering a proposal to change the civil aviation orders to enable the ratio of crew members to passengers to be increased, subject to approval of a safety risk management plan.

In response to the proposal, a range of views have been presented regarding both safety and security.

These require careful consideration by the Parliament.

The inquiry will be able to look at all aspects of this issue, seek expert advice and examine the role of cabin crew in preserving the safety and security of passengers.

I have asked the Committee to report by the middle of this year and look forward to the outcome of its deliberations.

The proposed terms of reference for the inquiry follow.  

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES STANDING COMMITTEE ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND COMMUNICATIONS

Inquiry into the ratio of cabin crews on aircraft

TERMS OF REFERENCE

The Committee is to inquire into the assignment and ratio of cabin crew to those aircraft that require the carriage of cabin crew under current regulations.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is currently considering a regulatory proposal that addresses the assignment of cabin crew members to aircraft that require the carriage of cabin crew. Under the current arrangements, operators of Australian domestic aircraft carrying more than 15 but not more than 216 passengers are required to carry at least 1 cabin crew member for each 36 passengers or part thereof (1:36).

Since 2006, CASA has permitted a number of Australian operators to operate certain aircraft with a ratio of 1 cabin crew member up to a maximum of 50 passenger seats.

CASA has proposed to implement the 1:50 cabin crew-passenger seat ratio for aircraft configurations of between 20 and 216 passengers with the gaining of approval conditional upon on an operator having in place a CASA-approved safety management risk plan.

In response to this proposal, a number of issues have been raised which would benefit from further consideration.

The Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications will inquire into and report on:

  • the current aviation safety regulatory system for aircraft operators in relation to the application of the cabin crew to passenger ratio including current exemption provisions
  • the role of cabin crew in managing both passenger safety and security
  • factors that determine the cabin crew to passenger ratio
  • international practice in respect of cabin crew to passenger ratios; and
  • measures to enhance aviation safety that may be considered in future requirements on aircraft operators for a safety management risk plan covering the cabin crew to passenger ratio.

[ENDS]