Two Australian air operators suspended

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has suspended the air operator’s certificates of Skymaster Air Services and Avtex Air Services. These two charter operators, which share the same ownership, are based at Sydney’s Bankstown airport.

CASA believes allowing Skymaster Air Services and Avtex Air Services to continue to operate while CASA completes further safety investigations poses a serious and imminent risk to air safety.

There have been three serious accidents and a number of incidents involving Skymaster aircraft in the last three months. On 15 June 2010 an aircraft operated by Skymaster crashed at Canley Vale in Sydney, with the pilot and a flight nurse killed. Other accidents include a wheels-up landing and a collapsed nose gear on landing. Incidents include a loss of engine power, fuel flow problems and landing gear malfunctions.

CASA’s decision to suspend Skymaster Air Services and Avtex Air Services is also based on issues relating to the safety culture of the operations, aircraft maintenance control and pilot training.

The suspension of Skymaster and Avtex will end in five business days from Friday 23 July 2010, unless CASA applies to the Federal Court for an order to continue the suspension for up to 40 days. During that time CASA will complete its investigation and determine what further action may need to be taken.

CASA’s actions are separate from the continuing investigation into the Canley Vale accident by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the independent Commonwealth transport accident investigator.

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