Thursday, 12 November 2015

Singapore tightens checks on foreign airlines flying here

Under new rule, carriers operating here must have CAAS permit and submit detailed data
By Karamjit Kaur, Aviation Correspondent, The Straits Times, 11 Nov 2015

Singapore has stepped up its scrutiny of foreign carriers to ensure safe skies, as passenger and flight numbers continue to rise.

All airlines flying here must now have an operating permit issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), The Straits Times has learnt.

Previously, foreign carriers could fly here as long as they were licensed by their respective civil aviation authorities.

The new rule, which took effect last year, requires airlines to submit detailed information on their operations, including aircraft maintenance procedures and pilot training programmes.

They must also provide aircraft-specific data for the fleet they intend to operate to Singapore, such as age and whether the planes have been involved in any incidents.

Once approved, the flying permit is valid for up to five years for carriers such as Emirates and British Airways that operate scheduled flights, and up to a year for non-scheduled operators, such as those that provide charter and medical flights.

To date, the CAAS has issued permits to 90 foreign carriers that operate scheduled flights and 126 operators of non-scheduled services, said its director for airworthiness and flight operations Tan Kah Han.

Before the policy change, only local carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Tigerair and Jetstar Asia had to apply for a flying permit.

All foreign carriers were allowed in, based on the principle that it is the responsibility of all 191 member states of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to ensure that their airlines are regulated in line with ICAO safety and other requirements. The ICAO is a United Nations arm that regulates the industry.

CAAS' foreign carrier surveillance programme and the tighter checks introduced allows the authority "to better assess the safety risks of foreign carriers operating to Singapore", said Mr Tan.

In considering the applications, the authority takes into account various factors, including the safety oversight capability of the country where the foreign carrier is registered, the operational capability of the carrier and the safety records of the aircraft type to be deployed to Singapore, he said.

"We also take into consideration safety information from other aviation authorities, including the outcomes of inspections and audits that they conduct," Mr Tan said.

Once the permit is granted to a foreign carrier, periodic inspections are done when it flies here, he added. If there are safety concerns, flights can and have been grounded until the issues are sorted out, he said, noting however that such cases are rare.

Aviation experts said the authority's strict checks and the importance of the Singapore market explain why carriers including Air India, Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air operate new aircraft and offer their best products on flights here.

Mr Jacques Astre, president of consultancy firm International Aviation Safety Solutions, said a growing number of states and authorities, including the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States and the European Aviation Safety Agency, have programmes in place to monitor foreign carriers in their airspace.

He said: "Singapore is moving in the right direction by fulfilling its obligations and protecting its citizens flying on those foreign aircraft."

Agreement reached at ITU #WRC15 to allocate spectrum in Earth-to-space direction for global flight tracking in civil aviation.Get the full story at
Posted by ITU on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Countries agree on system for satellites to track flights
By Karamjit Kaur, Aviation Correspondent, The Straits Times, 13 Nov 2015

A global push for all commercial flights to be tracked - after a Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared in March last year - has made good progress.

At a United Nations meeting on Wednesday, countries agreed to allocate a specific radio frequency for satellites to receive transmissions from aircraft.

Known as automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), such information is currently sent only to other aircraft and to ground stations.

The agreement at the World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, could pave the way for 100 per cent flight coverage, compared with just 30 per cent today.

This is because ground stations are now unable to receive signals from flights over vast oceans and remote regions.

The next step is for flight tracking to be made mandatory to avoid another MH370 tragedy, experts said.

Flight MH370 vanished on March 8 last year while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, and presumably plunged into the Indian Ocean. Amid a massive hunt for the Boeing 777 jet, a 2m-long flaperon washed up on Reunion Island more than three months ago.

It has since been confirmed that the wing part came from the ill-fated flight and the search for the main wreckage continues.

After urgent discussions with industry players, the UN's civil aviation arm, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), has proposed that aircraft be tracked every 15 minutes when flying over oceans and remote areas.

The plan is for the ruling to take effect from November next year, though some airlines have asked for more time.

A more likely implementation date is 2018, experts said.

Mr Michael Daniel, a retired United States Federal Aviation Administration official, said the new satellite frequency allocation agreement is of little use without ICAO standards to fully require the use of current aircraft tracking technology.

"It is up to the UN body, regulatory authorities and airlines to require real-time tracking," he said.

The UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which spearheaded the discussions on the radio frequency allocation for aircraft, said it has responded "in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking".

ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau director Francois Rancy said the allocation of frequencies for space stations to receive ADS-B signals from aircraft will enable real-time tracking of aircraft anywhere in the world.

"We will continue to work with ICAO and other international organisations to enhance safety in the skies," he added.

British satellite communications firm Inmarsat, which has been working on an alternative system to provide airlines with flight tracking capabilities, said: "We support any improvement in aviation safety... and look forward to further details on how this system will be put into operation."

No comments:

Post a Comment