Another whistleblower points to the inevitable: An investigation of the CAA

10 September 2019 / by the GAA team / GA in general, Governance, News, Security

Newshub’s Michael Morrah, digging into the CAA

In his latest TV3 Newshub coverage of the CAA, reporter Michael Morrah exposes problems within Aviation Security Services, where team leaders are accused of allowing people to board flights with illegal items.

It is alleged that bullying, harassment and ineffectual leadership are endemic within the lofty floors of the Asteron Centre, which is expensively occupied by the CAA and its subordinate, Aviation Security (AvSec). Acknowledging a problem that seems to be spreading like the current measles outbreak, the Director said that the allegations suggest “systemic and broad-ranging issues” including “a culture of fear” where people are scared they will be targeted if they speak up.

Hello? Haven’t we heard this before?

Graeme Harris has appointed QC David Laurenson to investigate these serious allegations and report back to him.

But Harris’s action might be viewed as an exercise in damage limitation, because in the same Newshub report, Morrah revealed the government’s intention to establish an independent investigation of the CAA, reporting to the Minister of Transport. That’s what the GAA has been pushing for since 2018.

Graeme Harris.. he talks of a culture of fear

It is abundantly clear that a root-and-branch investigation of the authority (and possibly TAIC and even, ultimately, the MoT) followed by decisive remedial action, is inevitable.

The GAA welcomes an independent, external investigation of the CAA. We believe it must also determine the competence of the CAA Board members with respect to their knowledge of the aviation sector and weigh the board membership to see if it is fairly balanced.

It should also examine whether the MoT has competent staff with sufficient specialist aviation knowledge to provide reliable advice to the Minister.

The MoT’s blind acceptance of advice from CAA managers and even Treasury officials, as has happened in the past, is no longer acceptable. There must now be full engagement of MoT staff in consultations – and if there is resistance, the culprits must be forced from their comfortable silos.

You can see more from Newshub’s series of investigations here: