The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has launched a review into its operation as the fall-out continues from the ongoing Mount Isa court matter of pilot Josh Hoch.
Mr Hoch was released on bail on Friday after being charged with 342 offenses which involve tampering with the planes of other users of Mount Isa Airport.
A CASA spokesperson said they have launched an internal review to determine whether any significant safety-related issues involving Mr Hoch and the operations of Hoch Air were, or ought to have been, identified and acted on prior to the launch of the police investigation and the arrest of Mr Hoch.
“It is important to remember that, like any other regulatory authority, CASA is only able to act on evidence that tends to show there has been a breach of the regulations, not on unsubstantiated claims of such conduct,” the spokesperson said.
CASA is only able to act on evidence that tends to show there has been a breach of the regulationsCASA spokesperson
“We are reviewing our records to inform such safety-related action as we may need to take now, and to ensure the integrity and sufficiency of our entry control, audit and surveillance activities. Should we need to, we will look more closely at any aspect of our regulatory functions should additional attention be required.”
Aviation writer and editor of Plane Talking blog Ben Sandilands said details of the police operation reflect very poorly on CASA given they knew about claims about Mr Hoch’s activities since 2013, and had worked closely with the police investigation since last October.
“Plane Talking has a copy of a CASA document showing that Hoch and his company didn’t receive a charter approval and air operator certificate until December 8 last year, by which time the safety regulator on its own admission had participated in the police inquiries for two months,” Mr Sandilands said.
“If as this implies Hoch’s operations were unlicensed and unapproved by CASA for all or part of the time they were taking place up until December 8 last year the safety regulator is in quite possibly criminally negligent breaches.”