The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has suspended Cairns-based Barrier Aviation for almost two months for operating with "serious and known defects". Barrier Aviation is a frequent visitor to Central Queensland Airports - particularly Clermont Aerodrome and Emerald Airport - operating Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) charters from and to North Queensland.
CASA says Barrier Aviation would pose a "serious and immediate risk" to air safety if it was to continue to fly. "CASA has evidence of Barrier Aviation 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," a aviation regulatory body said in a statement.
"The suspension follows an audit of Barrier Aviation, which revealed a range of maintenance related deficiencies." The suspension, which began just before Christmas Day, was initially in force for five working days. However, late on Christmas Eve, CASA was granted an application in the Federal Court to extend the suspension of the airline until at least mid-February 2013.
It may be possible for Barrier Aviation to resume operations earlier, should CASA be satisfied that Barrier Aviation no longer poses a serious and imminent risk to air safety.