ALEA federal secretary David Kemp said asking a pilot
to take on the job was akin to asking a bus driver to
perform the work of a mechanic.
But Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter
Gibson said the practice had been in use in Australia
for four years and was in line with maintenance
guidelines issued for Jetstar's fleet.
Mr Gibson said Jetstar's Boeing 717 fleet, and the
Airbus A320 aircraft it would soon be soon phasing in,
required only a visual inspection, not a full
engineering check, between flights.
This was in line with maintenance guidelines from
both manufacturers, and pilots would receive special
training for the task.
The Boeing 717 planes had been safely maintained
under the same regime by their previous owners, Impulse
Airlines and Qantas Link, for the past four years, Mr
“To use David's (Mr Kemp's) analogy, it's no
different to asking a bus driver to walk around a bus to
check the tyres are in good condition, that there's no
obvious damage and that there are no fuel or oil leaks,”
Pilots would perform no repair work on aircraft
beyond replacing a few specified light globes in the
cockpit, Mr Gibson said.
“Anything more complex must be done by an engineer,”
Mr Kemp said billboards drawing attention to the
issue had been erected at Melbourne and Sydney airports
today and the association had also launched a “Jetsafe”
website advising travellers about their safety concerns.
He said a similar campaign 18 months ago had forced
Virgin Blue to reinstate engineers' safety inspections
after it initially adopted a similar safety regime.
Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway said the safety
checks met stringent safety standards set by the Civil
Aviation and Safety Authority.
“We are dealing with very technically advanced
aircraft. These aircraft alert people to problems if
there are problems,” he said.
Safety was a paramount concern for the airline and
the engineers' concerns were not valid, Mr Westaway
“We would not undertake any practice that would
compromise the safety of aircraft or the safety of