REGIONAL Express has dismissed claims its staff are reluctant to report safety concerns for fear of reprisal from senior management.
A propeller snapping off a Rex plane on a flight from Albury to Sydney two years ago was at the centre of a weekend report calling for the grounding of the airline's entire fleet.
A document filed by the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has made the serious allegation a "culture of fear" exists within the airline by claiming management is intimidating maintenance crews out of reporting defects.
The March 2017 Rex flight from Albury to Sydney could have ended in disaster when a 100 kilogram propeller landed near homes on the outskirts of Sydney.
The plane landed without incident or injury to the 16 passengers and three crew, but a subsequent investigation pinpointed a fatigue crack as the cause.
In a statement released late yesterday, Rex confirmed that the "same wild accusations" have been raised by a disgruntled engineer and his union, first to the Fair Work Commission and then to CASA.
"Realising that these baseless accusations are not getting any traction, some are now taking the despicable and cowardly approach of launching anonymous malicious attacks on Rex in the press," the airline's chief operating officer Neville Howell said.
"Rex has been advised by the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers' Association that it is CASA that is behind the anonymous leaks.
"Rex had already invited senior management of CASA on June 18, 2019 to have a full briefing on the matter as well as to discuss the professional failings of the disgruntled engineer.
"We believe that our safety culture, as part of the Safety Management System, is second to none."
CASA wrote to Rex in May to advise: "The board and management of CASA have no current safety concerns with Rex. CASA is satisfied that Rex is currently meeting all its obligations".
"Rex will not be making any further comments on this matter," Mr Howell said.
"We will leave it to the safety authority to judge if our safety culture is lacking in any manner."
Rex operates 1500 weekly flights to 60 destinations including Griffith, Narrandera and Broken Hill, as well operating its own pilot academy in Wagga Wagga.
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