Civil Aviation Authority: Certification and surveillance functions.

This is the third time that my Office has reviewed the surveillance function of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and I am concerned that little action had been taken by the CAA to address the recommendations in our 1997 and 2000 audits.

The CAA has an important role to play in promoting civil aviation safety in New Zealand.

Our audit on this occasion of the CAA’s certification and surveillance functions highlighted the following issues of concern:

  • although the CAA’s certification process in the Airline sector is generally sound, the CAA’s general aviation inspectors need to be more rigorous in their assessment of operator capability to comply with the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and the Civil Aviation Rules;
  • the risk analysis and risk assessment processes are not as effective as they should be
  • the risk analysis does not necessarily “feed into” the surveillance process;
  • operators that are assessed as higher risk are not always appropriately targeted in relation to both depth and frequency of the surveillance undertaken; and
  • CAA inspectors are not ensuring that Finding Notices are issued for all operator noncompliances with the Civil Aviation Act. They therefore cannot be sure that the appropriate corrective action has been taken. We also had concerns about the length of time it took for some inspectors to check that corrective action had been taken to address the matters raised in the Finding Notices.

I am pleased to note that the CAA is already taking steps to address the recommendations in this report, and have included the actions that the CAA intends to take in the Appendix. I will be checking 6-monthly with the CAA to ensure that those intended actions are followed through.


K B Brady
Controller and Auditor-General

17 June 2005

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