RAASA Moves to CAA

RAASA functions move to the SACAA

Alan Evan-Hanes, General Manager, AeCSA

As 2019 is gathering momentum for what will be a busy year, I have interviewed Neil de Lange (RAASA CEO) to pick up on progress with the transferring of recreational aviation functions to the SACAA. The following notes summarize our discussion:

The original thought that RAASA operations and most staff would remain much the same as they are now (but rebranded) is no longer true. 

There has been no finalisation on staff movement, but it appears that the multiskilled RAASA approach will be changed to one of specialists dealing with only a single aspect, so staff who previously dealt with NPLs and ATFs will now only process one or the other; and some might move into completely new areas.

All NPLs and ATF’s will be processed and issued on the new EBS system. These are new processes and a new system so some teething problems should be anticipated. The new processes do not always align with current internal protocols and some changes might be required. Delays in the processing of applications can be mitigated by pilots and aircraft owners handing in paperwork pre-emptively about 2 weeks prior to expiry. 

The new EBS system does cater for the issuing of NPLs and ATFs, and it is currently envisaged that the Rand Airport Regional Office and Midrand Office will both be able to process applications. They are converting from a paper-based system to an electronic workflow, and as with all new things, there could be some delays as teething problems are addressed. Final decisions still needs to be made, and we will keep you posted.

The AROs, APs and ATO flying schools is not quite as clear. The EBS system, as it is currently configured, only caters for AMEs and fully fledged ATOs. Neil is promoting the practice of keeping the administration of APs and AROs as a manual process to the system for the moment, and issuing longer validity periods; during which time everyone involved can find common ground for an easily sustainable and safe future.

The industry has long since asked that the SACAA provides a commitment to service levels, and these are in process of being developed. It is hoped that the regulator does not opt for the longest possible reasonable processing time, but for a median reasonable processing time. We understand that exceptions may occur. 

Aero Club suggests that where delays seem unreasonable, we will raise these on an individual basis. RAASA, SACAA and Aero Club all agree that nobody wishes to see any unreasonable impediments to operations. Aero Club remains committed to receiving the excellent service standards previously performed by RAASA, which we know is possible for all to achieve.

Concerning decline in NPLs
Since 2009; RAASA has issued 5,500 NPLs of which only 1,980 have been renewed and are current. RAASA has suggested an internal review to establish the reasons for this, with the view to support anyone needing assistance (unfortunately not financial).

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