CAA automates ops

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 04 Dec 2007

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has reacted to past criticisms of sloppy paperwork by automating its processes and installing software that protects data integrity and provides an audit trail for investigators.

Both aspects are becoming key in the standoff between the CAA and Nationwide, grounded last week when its Aviation Maintenance Organisation licence was suspended. That licence allows companies to service their own and other aircraft to prescribed standards.

The CAA acted after Nationwide could not adequately explain wrong part numbers in its logs and could not trace the origin of certain bolts, says CAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu.

The agency`s latest annual report says IT is crucial to "delivering secure, timely and accurate information, enabling the business to provide services to its clients in an efficient and streamlined fashion regardless of location and time of day.

"The issuing of certificates of airworthiness has been automated through the aircraft registration system to increase the accuracy and the validity of information in the aircraft registration system," the report says.

"Various additions and changes were made to the system to increase data integrity and increase the effectiveness of currency fee invoicing. Reporting facilities on the system have also been extended to assist with the delivery of information."

The report notes that a facility to issue licences for aircraft maintenance engineers and cabin crew was added to the licensing system and "is fully operational".

"The logging and audit trail functions in the licensing system have been expanded to ensure better control and accountability in the process of the issuing of licences. Reporting facilities have also been expanded to ensure easy and timely responses to requests for information."

"Extensive development" was done on the existing CAA projects system "to improve data integrity in order to close the gap between financial information and projects information in the airworthiness and certification divisions".

The annual report also notes the CAA is becoming concerned about security. "The priority will have to be escalated as we are envisaging voice over Internet Protocol, which converges voice and data requirements with total dependability on network bandwidth."

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