On 13 December 2010, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority announced the registration of new aircraft maintenance regulations. The new regulations cover continuing airworthiness requirements (Part 42), approved maintenance organisations (Part 145), maintenance personnel licensing (Part 66) and maintenance training organisations (Part 147).
Under the changes to engineer licensing requirements, the number of licence categories will be reduced from five to two and the current system of providing a schedule of experience and sitting a CASA licensing exam will be replaced with competency based training administered by CASA approved training organisations. Maintenance organisations servicing regular public transport aircraft will be required to implement a safety management system, which is an organised approach to managing safety. They will also have to set out an exposition detailing how they will carry out maintenance on regular public transport aircraft. Businesses operating regular public transport aircraft will have to create a division within their organisation who will be responsible for the continuing airworthiness of aircraft.
These changes are expected to improve safety by improving the systems businesses use to ensure the safety of their aircraft and thereby reduce the number of errors occurring during maintenance. The introduction of competency based training should reduce the probability of licensing an individual who lacks the practical competencies required and the changes to engineer licensing categories will reduce the number of engineers required by regulation to perform specific tasks, improving efficiency.
The new regulations will be introduced from 27 June 2011. The rules covering continuing airworthiness and maintenance organisations only apply to regular public transport aircraft and operations, and are being phased in over two years.
A regulation impact statement (RIS) was prepared by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and has been approved by the OBPR.