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Aviation authority investigates new-tech risks

The Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) claims that emerging technologies could pose a potential risk to air safety if not properly monitored.
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Written by Suzanne Tindal on

The Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) claims that emerging technologies could pose a potential risk to air safety if not properly monitored.

An Airbus plane

Credit: Airbus

New systems hold the potential to improve safety and reduce aircraft workloads, however, their impact on aircraft procedures pose a potential risk to air safety, according to a report by CASA.

Demand for skills will likely be impacted as technology is adopted. New aircraft require personnel to learn new skills, including avionics and software, which may lead to shortages in specialist areas, the report said.

One unnamed carrier expressed its concerns: "The technology associated with the new aircraft types being introduced into the Australian market will require a significant investment in training and in some cases place increased demands on [licensed aircraft maintenance engineers]."

The government is tackling these issues, said the CASA report.

The CASA spokesperson said that new technologies per se are not an immediate threat.

"This does not mean new technologies pose any immediate risk to safety — rather they will need to be carefully monitored as they are introduced to ensure the aviation industry and travelling public reap the benefits of innovation," the spokesperson said.

In general, technology does not decrease flight safety but improves it, the CASA spokesperson said.

Some recent advances have included air traffic management systems enabling more aircraft in the air, engineering and maintenance systems to support new generation aircraft and avionics, security devices and capabilities, landing and approach procedures design, and the electronic flight bag providing up-to-date data and information in support of on-board systems.

CASA intends to establish five working groups, made up of experts drawn from industry and government, to look at the areas of aviation most likely to be affected by the changing technology environment. They will identify risks and develop intervention strategies.

Airline industry IT body SITA recently voiced concerns about the increasing use of IP-based networks by airlines.

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