|Formed||1 July 1995|
|Preceding Agency||Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)|
|Jurisdiction||Civil Aviation Act 1988 Air Services Act 1995 Airspace Act 2007|
|Headquarters||Alan Woods Building, 25 Constitution Avenue, Canberra, ACT, Australia|
|Minister responsible||Warren Truss, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development|
|Agency executives||Angus Houston, AC, AFC, Chairman
Margaret Staib, AM, CSC, Chief Executive Officer
Airservices Australia is an Australian Government owned corporation, responsible for providing safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry (e.g. air traffic control, airways navigation and communication facilities, aeronautical data and airport rescue and fire-fighting services) within the Australian Flight Information Region (FIR). Airservices Australia has international partnerships with ICAO, CANSO and IATA. The agency also maintains a close relationship with the Australian Defence Force.
Airservices Australia manages and monitors Australian airspace which covers approximately 11 per cent of the earth’s surface. This includes the airspace over continental Australia, territorial waters and also international airspace boundaries over the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Airservices Australia also manages upper-level airspace (above 30,000 ft) under contract to the neighbouring Pacific Island Flight Information Regions of the Solomon Islands and Nauru.
Each year, Airservices Australia provides air navigation services for more than four million domestic and international flights carrying over 80 million passengers. The aviation industry also relies on Airservices Australia for aeronautical data, telecommunications and emergency services. Airservices Australia also provides Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting services at 22 of the nation’s busiest airports where there are more than 350,000 passenger movements a year on air transport flights.
Airservices Australia's headquarters is located in the Alan Woods Building in central Canberra. The building is named in honour of the late Alan Woods, a Chairman of the agency's predecessor organisation, the Civil Aviation Authority.
The agency is self-funded and controlled by a Board of Directors, accountable to the Australian Parliament, through the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, The Honourable Warren Truss MP. The Chairman of Airservices Australia Board is Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC,AFC (Ret'd). The Chief Executive Officer is Air Vice-Marshal Margaret Staib (Ret'd). The agency maintains approx. 4,000 highly skilled aviation professionals, including air traffic controllers, engineering specialists, technicians and support staff working from two major control centres, and 29 air traffic control towers at capital city and regional airports. In 1999, the agency commenced using The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS), a computerised air traffic control system covering all sectors of Australian air space.
Air Traffic Control operations
Airservices Australia has two air traffic control centres based in Brisbane and Melbourne. Australia has two Flight Information Regions which are managed by these centres. All airspace to the north of the dividing boundary (YBBB) is controlled by Brisbane Centre and all airspace to the south of the boundary (YMMM) is controlled by Melbourne Center. These centers cover the whole of Australia except for the Terminal Control Units and towers at major cities. In addition, Melbourne Centre is responsible for managing traffic handovers from South Africa, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia and New Zealand. Brisbane Centre manages traffic handovers from neighboring flight information regions including East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and USA.
Aerodrome controllers are airport tower controllers, airport approach controllers, airport departure controllers and ground controllers.
The Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of Defence was established on 28 March 1921, after Parliament passed the Air Navigation Act 1920 in December 1920. The organisation was reformed as a separate Government Department, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), on 14 November 1938 after the enquiry into the 1938 Kyeema Crash. Arthur Brownlow Corbett was appointed Director-General of Civil Aviation in April 1939, serving until his retirement in August 1944. From June 1946 to December 1955 the Director-General was Richard Williams, formerly RAAF Chief of the Air Staff. Donald George Anderson held the position of Director-General from January 1956 until September 1973.
On 30 November 1973 the DCA merged with the Department of Shipping and Transport and became the Department of Transport, Air Transport Group. This group was again reformed as its own Department on 7 May 1982, the Department of Aviation (DOA). Another merger took place on 24 July 1987 when the DOA was absorbed by the Department of Transport and Communications. On 1 July 1988 the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was formed to control aviation safety regulation and provide air traffic services.
CAA was split into two separate government organisations in July 1995: Airservices Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Airservices Australia took responsibility for airspace management, aeronautical information, communications, radio navigation aids, airport rescue and fire fighting services, and aviation search and rescue, while CASA assumed control of safety regulations, licensing of pilots and aviation engineers, and certification of aircraft and operators. The role of aviation search and rescue was transferred from Airservices Australia to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in 1997.
2009 ATC Industrial Dispute
Airservices Australia entered negotiations with the Air Traffic Control union Civil Air in early 2008 to form a new collective agreement. As negotiations continued, ATC staff shortages were said to contribute to what was the worst year on record for flight delays and cancellations, but had been earlier defended by Airservices CEO Greg Russell as having been caused by a group of "renegade air traffic controllers" who had been responsible for airspace closures in a form of covert industrial action.
Despite claims by the union that the problem was caused by a shortage of controllers, the figures provided by Airservices show the average number of controllers has not changed significantly over the previous three years.
Complaints by airline Virgin Blue culminated in a demand for $500,000 compensation in October 2008. An attempt by Airservices to define obligatory reasonable overtime for its controllers failed in the AIRC in late December 2008.
Remaining differences in position regarding wages and sick leave resulted in threatened industrial action by late January 2009. High-level intervention of CEO Greg Russell and ACTU President Sharan Burrow in the negotiations produced an offer which averted industrial action and was endorsed almost unanimously by the Air Traffic Controllers.
The collective agreement negotiation saw 83 per cent of staff register their vote, with 95 per cent voting for the agreement. The new agreement led to a pay increase of 4.3 per cent per annum over 3.5 years with changes to sick leave and rostering arrangements.
As of September 2009, Air Traffic Control staffing problems continued to disrupt the ability of Airservices Australia to provide its core function, precipitating an unprecedented cancellation of leave for the entire Sydney approach control unit for three months.
In its 2010-13 Workforce Plan, Airservices claimed that as of December 2009 the required number of operational ATC staff were available, reflecting the impact of a significant increase in recruitment and training throughout 2008-09. Airservices further plans to recruit close to 100 ATC trainees annually to 2013 to offset the impact of retirements and resignations.
2010 Alleged Sexual Harassment and Bullying Court Action
On 28 July 2010 a Federal Court action was brought against Airservices Australia by two air traffic controllers employed by the agency for alleged bullying and sexual harassment within the workplace.
- 1999 - Eagle Award - IATA - "Best Air Navigation Service provider"
- 2005 - Eagle Award - IATA - "Best Air Navigation Service Provider"
- 2010 - Asset Management Award - Asset Management Council (a technical society of Engineers Australia)
- 2011 - Lawrence Hargrave Award - Royal Aeronautical Society (awd. to Greg Dunstone for pioneering ADS-B Initiatives)
- 2011 - National Award (Telecommunication) - AIPA
- 2013 - Annual Report Award - IPAA, ACT Division - Bronze award in Commonwealth Authorities and Companies category (for 2011-12 report).
- Civil Aviation Safety Authority
- Department of Infrastructure and Transport
- Australian Transport Safety Bureau
- Australian Air Traffic Control
- Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation
- GNSS Augmentation
- Manual of Standards Part 139H - Standards Applicable to the Provision of Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services commlaw.gov.au, retrieved 21 April 2013
- "2008 worst year for cancelled or late flights". Theage.com.au. 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Renegade controllers leave pilots flying blind". Theage.com.au. 2008-07-26. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Shortage of air traffic controllers spells more drama for Qantas". Abc.net.au. 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Virgin Blue demands $500,000 for delays". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "AIRC Determination: Alleged dispute concerning hours of work". Airc.gov.au. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Air traffic controllers flag industrial action". Abc.net.au. 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (2012-02-17). "Strike on way after air traffic talks fail". Theaustralian.news.com.au. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (2012-02-17). "Air traffic controllers' pay row threatens havoc for flights". Theaustralian.news.com.au. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Air traffic controllers agree to deal". Theage.com.au. 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Media Release - Air traffic controllers collective agreement ballot successful". Newsroom.airservicesaustralia.com. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Flights delayed or cancelled in Sydney". News.brisbanetimes.com.au. 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Sydney's flight schedule 'to return to normal'". Abc.net.au. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- 5 Minutes 10 Minutes (2012-02-17). "Airservices, staff on collision course". Theaustralian.news.com.au. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Airservices 2010-13 Workforce Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Air controllers claim bullying, discrimination". Theage.com.au. 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- "Annual Report Awards". Retrieved 5 June 2013.