COOBER PEDY AIRSTRIP: RAMSEY ANGRY AT CASA’S INFLEXIBILITY

Rowan Ramsey MP

Rowan Ramsey MP

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has responded angrily to a decision by CASA which threatens to kill off the Rex service to Coober Pedy.

“I am very angry that a Federal bureaucracy in CASA has shown its sheer bloody-mindedness in trying to hitch on to international regulations to which Coober Pedy has an exemption for 27 years.

“Rex airlines and before them Kendall have operated a safe, efficient and incident free service for almost three decades.

“A ruling by CASA has put air services to Coober Pedy in jeopardy and caused enormous angst in the business community, for tourist operators and locals.

“Because Coober Pedy is so isolated it is simply not acceptable that we would not have a commercial air service servicing the town, particularly when we have a very good operator happy to supply the service.

“Now after an edict on his last day of employment with CASA, the Director of Aviation Safety John McCormack, has effectively closed down Coober Pedy’s air services.

“Rex will be in contravention of the ACCC if they sell tickets beyond the period when service can be guaranteed and as a result has withdrawn bookings beyond Nov 13th. CASA has informed Rex it will not be able to land in Coober Pedy if there are cross-winds greater than 10 knots post November 13.

“Conditions outside this parameter occur approximately ten percent of the time and would render the service unviable.

“In effect, if the Rex service arrived in Coober Pedy in conditions of greater than 10 knot winds they would have to turn around and return to Adelaide with all their passengers.

“Since 2002 this service has been operated by Rex Airlines using their Australia wide of Saab 340’s.

“I have brought this issue to the Prime Minister’s attention and he is as concerned as I am regarding the ramifications this decision will have on Coober Pedy.

“The Government has no control of CASA, it merely appoints the board and CASA operates as an independent body at arms-length from Government.

“This is appropriate, however at the end of the day, CASA are public servants and I have always believed public servants should help the public, not ruin businesses and lives to satisfy some red-tape sensitive souls who are not prepared to stand up and make a common sense decision.

“I will pursue this to the highest office in the land to seek a reversal of this decision. If that is simply not possible, I believe the Federal Government has indirect responsibility for this decision and accordingly I will seeking the funding to widen the air strip, even though I believe, having operated the service safely for 27 years, such an undertaking is a complete waste of public money.”

Runway decision threatens Coober Pedy’s survival

4 September 2014  (Rescinded)