Mr. Dick Smith
PO Box 418
Terrey Hills
NSW 2084

Dear Dick,

I write to you about the issues you raised in the media on 21August 2007 concerning air safety at Avalon airport.

I specifically want to take issue with your assertions in these media forays that Civil Air, the union that represents Australia’s air traffic controllers, was using its influence to prevent the manning of Avalon  Airport control tower.

You also suggested that Civil Air was itself being influenced by other organisations to continue this action. These statements are without foundation and untrue. Therefore they only serve to significantly mislead people and distract from the otherwise important and serious debate regarding aviation safety.

As evidence of a our bona fides in this area, I refer you to the formal support Civil Air gave to CASR Part 71, which in part intended to define the thresholds for establishing control towers. This is on the public record. At the present time, the original development project AS 99/13 has been replaced by a new project AS 06/14. Civil Air continues to support the broad intention of having thresholds that when triggered require the establishment of a particular service; we also reserve the right to comment on the particulars of the proposal.

It is curious that in your former role as head of the Civil Aviation Authority, the forerunner of Airservices Australia, and also CASA, that you did not champion the introduction of the required rules and regulations in these matters whilst in a position of leadership.

Civil Air welcomes the establishment of further air traffic control facilities. It is our belief that the role performed by air traffic controllers is an integral part of the safety inherent in the aviation industry.

However, it is not the union that prescribes or proscribes the establishment of towers in Australia.

I look forward to your future entries into these debates being well researched and not accompanied by unfounded and inaccurate accusations.

Yours Sincerely

Michael Haines 

Civil Air

Dick Smiths reply can be viewed [here