Updates to civil aviation accident investigation laws proposed
A spokesman for THB explained today (June 7) that currently the Chief Inspector (CI), who is also the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is responsible for leading staff members of the Civil Aviation Department to conduct investigations into civil aviation accidents and serious incidents which occur in Hong Kong and those encountered by Hong Kong-registered aircraft outside Hong Kong.
The ICAO adopted a new Standard on enhancing independence in civil aviation accident investigation in 2016, and recommended civil aviation authorities all over the world to implement it by the end of 2018. The objective of the legislative amendment exercise is to ensure the independence of the civil aviation accident investigation authority and give legal backing to it, through transforming the arrangement of the DGCA being the CI and granting statutory powers to the CI of the independent investigation authority for executing duties relating to accident investigation, as well as to clarify the scope of civil aviation accident investigation. Major amendments include:
(i) to introduce a new provision into the Hong Kong Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations to make clear that the independent investigation authority will fall under the purview of the THB and the CI is directly accountable to the Secretary for Transport and Housing on investigation matters. To ensure independence in investigation, all existing functions and powers related to accident investigation conferred on the DGCA under the existing Regulations will be transferred to the CI; and
(ii) to amend or introduce definitions relevant to civil aviation accident investigation, including definitions of "accident" and "serious incident", with reference to the ICAO's new standards.
"The independent civil aviation accident investigation authority will be fully segregated from the organisational structure of the Civil Aviation Department and directly accountable to the Secretary for Transport and Housing to ensure independence and impartiality in civil aviation accident investigation. The authority will also have enhanced manpower for accident prevention and safety management initiatives, which can further safeguard aviation safety," the spokesperson said.
The Hong Kong Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) (Amendment) Regulation 2017 and the Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order 1995 (Amendment) Order 2017 will be gazetted this Friday (June 9) and tabled before the Legislative Council on June 14. The amended legislation will come into operation on a day to be appointed by the Secretary for Transport and Housing by notice published in the Gazette.
Ends/Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:00
Issued at HKT 17:00