Virgin Independent Pilots Association (VIPA)
In a formal Submission to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss, the Virgin Independent Pilots Association (VIPA) claims the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has mounted a coordinated and vigorous campaign to discriminate against pilots who have colour vision deficiency (CVD). Members of the VIPA Executive, along with the President of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), met with Deputy Prime Minister Truss and Senator David Fawcett to highlight how, despite assurances from CASA, changes to CVD practices have been introduced without full industry consultation.
Left to right: John O’Brien, Dr Arthur Pape, Deputy PM Warren Truss, VIPA Executive Director Simon O’Hara, VIPA Vice-President Tony Dodd and AIPA President Nathan Safe
The delegation also presented the Deputy Prime Minister with a petition signed by over 1700 people who have expressed concern over CASA’s handling of the CVD issue and have called on the government to intervene.
VIPA thanks the Acting Prime Minister for allowing us the opportunity to outline the long list of issues impacting CVD pilots across Australia, as a result of CASA introducing these unfair policy changes without consulting industry.”
VIPA and its members, along with other industry groups, have lost confidence in the aviation medicine (AvMed) section of CASA.”
Several recent AAT cases are littered with examples of the dubious decision making of the CASA AvMed section and criticise it’s Principal Medical Officer for making decisions which are inconsistent, ill-supported and ill-reasoned.”
Pilots are often left with no choice except to appeal these bureaucratic decisions through the AAT and in doing so, they are often financially crippled attempting to balance the uneven process against a regulator with unlimited access to tax payer funded resources.”
CVD pilots are just the latest group to be targeted by the PMO and their plight highlights the reason why VIPA and many in the industry are calling for an urgent overhaul of the AvMed section of CASA.”
VIPA have also previously written to CASA calling on the regulator to publicly retract their recent remarks.
VIPA is incredulous that at no stage has CASA sought industry engagement or stakeholder input into this decision.
The fact is, there are hundreds of commercial pilots with CVD who have passed check and line training requirements and subsequently have thousands of hours flying without incident, who will be impacted by these restrictive practices.
Their everyday performance is no different to their other pilot colleagues, yet they are being ruthlessly targeted.
VIPA has also supported CVD pilots in discussions held with Members of the Federal Parliament, including key independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Liberal Senator David Fawcett.
Australian & International Pilots Association
The Australian & International Pilots Association has written directly to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss over CASA’s handling of the Debate over colour vision deficiency CVD affected pilots.
Normally, I would express the concerns of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) directly with the Director of Aviation Safety, Mr John McCormick, before raising the issue with you. However, it is clear to me from watching Senate Estimates that Mr McCormick is determined to press ahead with his strategy to unwind the Australian CVD policy position, regardless of both the empirical safety evidence and the unnecessary damage that will ensue to the livelihoods of a significant number of Australia’s professional aviators.
In many ways, this cynical attempt by the senior executives of CASA to attack the long-standing CVD policy position of Australia, in concert with their intention to use the AAT to wind that policy back, has dulled some of the glimmer of hope that the industry attributed to your Aviation Safety Regulatory Review (ASRR).
Given the path that CASA seems determined to follow in regard to CVD pilots, AIPA strongly recommends that you accept the evidence of many years of safe operations by CVD pilots in Australia that this is not a safety issue and that you consequently intervene to direct a more sensible and less expensive approach to whatever procedural issue that is motivating CASA to further alienate much of the Australian aviation industry.
Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP)
AFAP have provided substantial financial assistance towards the current AAT appeal and continue to monitor the situation closely. They have also written to CASA expressing a strong disapproval with the process and approach taken by CASA.
The AFAP believes it is unreasonable and inappropriate that CASA is asking companies or the affected pilots to make assessments about their ability to hold a medical certificate. CASA issued the medical certificates in question and the affected pilots have been operating under these certificates in good faith.
AOC holders and the pilots themselves are not privy to the "recent medical research" to which CASA refers in its letter nor are they medically qualified to make the assessment requested. If CASA wish to change the regulations regarding colour vision then CASA should follow the correct and established processes. CASA's letter of 5 June 2014 is in our view an abuse of process.