Singapore Airlines controlled Tiger Airways is under immense pressure in its Australian operations this morning even after it says it has satisfied safety concerns raised by CASA in a ‘show cause’ letter on March 23.
That notice, which has now expired, gave the airline 21 days to respond to concerns about short cuts in pilot training and safety procedures in the carrier, ruled out any need for CASA to take immediate action against the airline in the interests of public safety.
This makes the real situation quite different to the suggestions in general media stories this morning that Tiger could be grounded forthwith. But it does pose Tiger with its worst yet crisis of perception in the public mind, shading its tricky ticketing rules, passenger penalties and chronic unreliability.
CASA issued the following notes on its Tiger show cause letter:
CASA does not comment on show cause notices.
If there were an imminent risk to safety from any air operator, CASA has the power to suspend operations immediately.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority carries out regular safety audits and checks on Australian airlines and other air operators. When the Civil Aviation Safety Authority finds evidence of non-compliance with the requirements of the civil aviation legislation the formal action the Civil Aviation Safety Authority may take ranges from issuing requests for corrective action to grounding some or all of an operator’s fleet. The action the Civil Aviation Safety Authority does take is based on careful consideration of the nature of the regulatory breaches involved and the safety implications.
Where there is not a serious and imminent risk to safety, one action the Civil Aviation Safety Authority may take is to issue a ‘show cause notice’. On the basis of the reasons set out in the notice, the operator is invited to ‘show cause’ why the Civil Aviation Safety Authority should not act to vary, suspend or cancel the operator’s civil aviation authorisations. Show cause notices set out the facts and circumstances of the matter, as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority understands them, and provide the operator with an opportunity to explain their own view of those facts and circumstances. The air operator is required to respond to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s claims – either by refuting them, or with proposed actions to rectify the deficiencies the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has identified.
Tiger Australia is apparently working on a much more detailed response than it issued last night, which was:
Tiger Airways has a policy of not commenting on dealings between the airline and the regulators.
However, last month, CASA asked Tiger to clarify certain matters, which Tiger has responded to in full.
Safety underpins Tiger’s operations at all times.
Tiger continues to operate normal services.
What the public should be told is precisely what it was that concerned CASA, and precisely why CASA is now satisfied with the Tiger responses.
Update: Tiger believes licence not at risk
Given recent media reporting, Tiger wishes to reassure its customers and people that it does business with, that it’s business as usual. Tiger is flying and will continue to fly in accordance with all regulations.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority carries out regular safety audits and checks on Australian airlines and other air operators.
Where there is not a serious and imminent risk to safety, one action the Civil Aviation Safety Authority may take is to issue a ‘show cause notice’.
Last month, CASA asked Tiger to clarify certain matters, which Tiger has responded to in full. Tiger has answered every question from CASA and the matters are being dealt with in an orderly and appropriate manner.
CASA has not taken any action and Tiger continues to operate normal services. Tiger does not believe that its licence is at risk.
It’s important to remember the on-going Senate Committee inquiry on aviation safety has put the aviation industry as a whole under the spotlight.
Tiger’s true low cost model continues to be embraced by the Australian public – 7 million passengers in just over 3 years of operation is a phenomenal achievement.
At all times, safety has and will continue to be paramount.