ADS-B: We know the science, but what’s the bottom line?
Anyone following the progress of ADS-B’s introduction to New Zealand will have noticed one Great Big Official Unknown:
How it’s going to be paid for.
Hey, grab some airspace for nothing, and make money
There seems to be an insidious trend towards obtaining the use of public airspace for private commercial gain, with no known dividend to either the public or to aviators who have customary rights to the airspace.
The first hint of trouble came when a North Island enterprise called Incredible Skies unexpectedly won restricted airspace conditions on an enormous area around Hokianga – and then advertised internationally on the web, inviting drone developers to come and test their machines in this scenic spot (presumably, not for free).
Remarkably, they got away with it, not least because the CAA failed to carry out the required consultation with interested parties. Civil Aviation Rule 71.9 requires the Director to consult with affected persons, organisations, and representative groups within the aviation industry, before making a designation or classification of airspace.
But it gets worse…
Changes: Why are we waiting? Because we’re at the bottom of the pile
The GAA has sat down with Civil Aviation Authority Board Chairman Nigel Gould and Director Graeme Harris, and a major topic was the length of time it takes to achieve a rule change.
Just to give you an idea of the problem: a GA-based exemption petition submitted more than four years ago to the NZ CAA has made no progress at all, whereas an almost identical request to the UK CAA was approved and implemented in less than 12 months.
Graeme Harris explained why. It’s all about a pyramid and a vicious circle…
Fuel Excise Duty refunds: Time to plan a different route?
For GA pilots who use Mogas, it’s double taxation; and now for Auckland-based pilots, it’s triple taxation. We’re paying fuel excise duty to build roads which our aeroplanes have (we all hope) no chance of using.
Who’s fault is this? Answer: The Ministry of Transport, which six years ago used the Treasury’s mantra of User Pays to impose a $330 medical application fee. The CAA and the ministry were eventually proved faulty on that piece of sophistry.
But, ho hum… User Pays doesn’t apply to duty on petrol because… ahem… that might mean some hard work to fix.
Five years into this issue, and we are not one millimetre forward, thanks to political and public service procrastination and a litany of feeble excuses, ranging from “it’s not a priority” to “we’ve been restructured” and all the way back to square one.
Perhaps it’s time to take a different tack?
It’s official: The CAA has a virtual licence to extract unlimited money
Parliament’s Regulations Review Committee has rejected a complaint about the Civil Aviation (Safety) levies Amendment Order 2017 and the Civil Aviation Charges Regulations (No2) 1991 Amendment Regulations 2017. The Committee Chairperson, former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee (who was responsible for the draconian GA increases of 2012) said his committee was concerned at the level of charges, but “large increases are not necessarily problematic under Standing Order 319(2)…”
What Brownlee says about large increases begs a big question: If the scale of increased charges has no limit, where can GA go to seek redress?
Clearly not the RRC, which rejected similar complaints in 2013 purely on the basis that nobody had broken the rules…
The global pilot crisis. At last, people are waking up
An additional 640,000 commercial pilots will be needed worldwide over the next 20 years, 40 per cent of them in the Asia Pacific region. This crisis has been forecast for years. Politicians ignored all the warnings, airlines put off the evil day – but in 2018, reality has arrived with a vengeance.
Air New Zealand has announced that it’s working on the issue behind the scenes with the Airline Pilots Association, and there is agreement that trainee pilots need better support and more funding.
Is this just too little, a little too late?