REGIONAL Express Airlines (Rex) has continued to back its safety culture, despite allegations which surfaced from a former engineer’s complaint to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
The airline service revealed CASA had conducted audits on all aspects of its Safety Management System five times since February last year.
“In addition, Rex has met with CASA on at least nine occasions since then to provide safety briefings and updates,” a Rex spokesperson said in a statement to The Border Watch yesterday.
The company outlined a section of a Surveillance Report following an audit in October, which stated “the Rex Safety Management System was operating in an effective manner”.
“The organisation presented a consistent and unified commitment to the development and ongoing continuous improvement of safety management principles across all business areas sampled by the audit team,” the report states.
“On behalf of the CASA surveillance team, I would like to acknowledge the cooperation and open approach demonstrated by Rex Management and staff during the audit.”
Rex has been under fire this week since accusations surfaced over the weekend when The Sunday Telegraph reported on a 17-page document filed by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association to CASA.
The document alleged an engineer was disciplined for finding corrosion to a propeller shaft during a routine check, resulting in a delay to the flight.
The engineer was allegedly told he was not supposed to check that part of the aircraft during the inspection that day.
The document ultimately alleged a “culture of fear” associated with Rex, however the airline has since refuted those claims.
“CASA received the complaint five weeks ago and did not find anything of substance to warrant their prompt attention,” a Rex spokesperson said.
“In fact, Rex invited CASA for a thorough briefing on the industrial dispute on June 24, however the matter was of so little concern that no meeting has been scheduled yet.”
Highlighting the impeccable aviation safety record in Australia, Rex invited anyone with “lingering doubts” to talk directly to CASA.
“It is inconceivable that Rex’s safety culture could have so sharply deteriorated as alleged in just one month or that CASA would have failed to pick up troubling signs of Rex’s safety culture in over two years of intense scrutiny,” they said.
“We invite all who have lingering doubts to talk directly to CASA which is the only authority that has all the facts and evidence, instead of giving credence to aviation amateurs who have an axe to grind or a personal agenda.”
Rex have continued to back the safety of their fleet despite the activation of emergency protocols three times at the Mount Gambier Airport since November.
The most recent incident occurred on June 21, when a “loud bang” was heard aboard flight ZL3752 shortly after take-off.
Pilots had to shut an engine down and initiate emergency protocols before returning to the airport and landing safely around 35 minutes later.
The incident was the second in as many months, after a plane travelling from Melbourne to Mount Gambier experienced an indication associated with the aircraft’s left engine on descent in May.
Emergency service personnel were called to the regional airfield on that occasion as a precautionary measure.
On November 16 last year, a plane en route to Adelaide was returned to the Mount Gambier Airport as a “precautionary measure” after a cockpit indication activated 17 minutes into the journey.