Shocking, insane and incompetent: Customers condemn the ‘toxic’ CAA

The GAA survey of CAA customer satisfaction

The full results of the GAA’s independent survey of CAA client satisfaction have been published. The report reveals significant disapproval and disquiet.

On virtually all questions seeking a rating of 0 (no satisfaction) to 10 (very high), the Authority scored below 5 and in some cases, such as cost control, less than 2.

The CAA is described by some GA customers as “shocking”, “insane”, “toxic” and “incompetent”.

The survey was conducted by the GAA from December 2018 to February this year. It is the first such research here for 15 years and was modelled on a customer survey carried out in 2016 by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which delivered similar (but only slightly better) results.

Foremost among New Zealand operators’ concerns are:

  • Alleged lack of response to a large number of aviation-related safety concerns and incident reports sent to the CAA
  • A clear mandate (almost 90% in favour) for a voluntary, confidential incident reporting system which is non-punitive and administered by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC)
  • The CAA is ranked 2 out of 10 for value for money and just over 1 for cost control.
  • Its hourly rate of $284 is condemned as grossly excessive
  • Lack of openness and transparency
  • Unsatisfactory handling of complaints. Customers want an independent aviation complaints body
  • Poor standards of service delivery, including unacceptable delays
  • Low CAA respect for clients’ input and an inability or unwillingness to engage with customers
  • Inadequate consultation. A majority believe that the current processes are a waste of time and that their contributions are ignored
  • Distrust of, and lack of confidence in, the CAA’s Medical Unit. More than 90% of respondents want an independent Aviation Medical Panel
  • Slow recognition and little or no promotion of initiatives that cut costs and red tape – but do not compromise safety – already adopted by other countries
  • Inconsistency of decisions by the Authority and individual staff members
  • Failure to frame regulations in plain English

There are uncanny similarities between the Australian and New Zealand survey results, although our CAA’s satisfaction scores are somewhat lower across the board.

The big difference is that our Authority repeatedly declined to consider running such a survey, whereas CASA has now promised to run them every two years. The Australians already have an action plan to deal with the long list of problems uncovered by their survey.

According to this survey, the behaviour of the NZ CAA is clearly unacceptable to Kiwi aviators. The GAA believes the CAA must either change its ways, or be forced to.

You can download the full survey report here