Barrier still in no-fly zone
THE stand-off between Barrier Aviation and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has continued, with neither party taking any significant action since the airline was suspended from flying until February 15.Principal lawyer representing Barrier Aviation, Derek Perkins, said Barrier was still awaiting the results of CASA's investigation.
"The cards are all in CASA's hands in terms of the court process and their ability to maintain an investigation whilst the airline is suspended," Mr Perkins said.
"CASA have been quiet and we've been quiet. Everyone's got their heads down."
In an open letter written to CASA on January 1, Mr Perkins estimated the airline was haemorrhaging $28,000 a day since being grounded and had suffered "severe reputational damage".
Barrier's sudden grounding, which was initiated by CASA on December 23, has affected the airline's entire fleet of 34 aircraft and 55 staff, spread across their bases in Cairns, Darwin, Gove and Horn Island.
The regulator claims it has evidence of Barrier "directing pilots to fly with serious and known aircraft defects, as well as not recording those defects on aircraft maintenance documentation when the defects became known".
The charter airline was initially handed a five-day suspension but that was extended by CASA after an application to the Federal Court.
CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the regulator's investigation was still ongoing.
"We've got a lot of material to work through. We have got a dedicated team working on it," Mr Gibson said. "We'll complete that as quickly as we possibly can."
Mr Gibson said it was "too early to say" if CASA was on track to lift the suspension on the airline.
"Barrier have said to us that they were going to put a plan to us to address the issues that we've identified so far," he said.
"Now, we haven't seen that yet, but that may be of assistance."
The airline has had strong support from fellow local operator Hinterland Aviation.
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