For discussion
on 9 January 1998


Subhead 002 Allowances

Members are invited to approve the continued payment of a flight allowance to Senior Operations Officers occupying Flight Operations Inspector posts in the Civil Aviation Department for another two years starting from 28 January 1998.


The salary scale of Flight Operations Inspectors (FOIs) without the flight allowance is not sufficiently attractive to enable the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) to recruit and retain stafffill the posts.


2.The Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) proposes to retain the flight allowance scheme for FOIs for a further period of two years starting from 28 January 1998.

3.The rate of the allowance is pitched at equals to the difference between the pay of an FOI (with a salary scale of Master Pay Scale Point 45 to 49) post and the minimum point of a D1 post on the Directorate Pay Scale, i.e. D1. It ranges from amounts to $9,545 to $20,515 per month in 1997-98.


Responsibilities of Flight Operations Inspectors

4.The FOIs are responsible for ensuring that Hong Kong's airlines operate in a safe manner and comply fully with the statutory requirements and procedures. In particular, they play a key role in advising the DCA on the grant and annual renewal of Air Operator's Certificates (AOC), the possession of which is required under the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention) for commercial air transport operations. To this end, the FOIs have to will assess airlines' operational procedures and manuals, flight crew and cabin-crew training standards, safety equipment, facilities at destinations, annual operational appraisal, and check flight documentation. In addition, FOIs are also responsible for approval of pilot examiners and flight simulators. A detailed job description of the FOIs is at the Enclosure.

5.Following the guidance laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, CAD requires appointees to FOI posts to hold a current Airline Transport Pilot Licence. They should also have not less than 5 ,000 hours of air transport pilot-in-command experience, of which a significant proportion should be on jet aircraft, and have recent experience in civil operations management as a training captain (i.e. instructor captain). Based on these requirements, CAD's assessment is that a qualified candidate would need to have not less than 12 years of relevant experience in the industry.

Pay Structure Problem

6.Experienced commercial pilots are in great demand internationally. They and are offered attractive expatriate terms emoluments and conditions of service by commercial airlines. At present, an FOI in the CAD receives approximately $1.7 million per annum including gratuity and accommodation allowance but excluding flight allowance. By comparison, a middle management training captain working in a Hong Kong-based airline (which requires similar qualifications and experience) generally earns over $2 million per annum. DCA is of the view that the FOI pay package without the flight allowance is far less attractive than that offered to similarly qualified pilots in the private sector.

Importance of Flight Allowance

7.At present, there are six FOIs on the permanent establishment of the CAD. They are, supervising and monitoring the operation of a fleet of 86 commercial transport aircraft, which will expand to 103 by early 1999. DCA will create two additional FOI posts in 1998-99 to cope with the increasing workload.

8.Before the introduction of the flight allowance, CAD faced great difficulty in the recruitment of FOIs. From mid 1987 to early 1989, two out of the three FOI posts available were unfilled. With the introduction of the allowance in early 1989, the recruitment and retention situation has generally improved.been by and large put under better control. DCA considers that without the payment of the flight allowance, there will be serious retention and recruitment problems for FOIs. Given the need for a stable and qualified team of FOIs to assess and monitor the qualifications of AOC applicants/holders, DCA proposes to extend that the payment of the flight allowance for another two yearsshould continue.

Long Term Solution

9.DCA is reviewing the pay structure of the FOIs with a view to identifying a long term solution to address the problem of recruitment and retention difficulties, which is unlikely to disappear in the foreseeable future. The current flight allowance arrangement approved by Members in 1996 will expire by the end of January 1998this month. Given the need for a stable and qualified team of FOIs to assess and monitor the qualifications of AOC applicants/holders, DCA proposes to extend the payment of the flight allowance for another two years.


10.Since FOIs meeting the qualification and experience requirements would mostly join at Point 49 on the Master Pay Scale, the rate of the allowance received by for an FOI is onlyusually $9,545 per month. The cost of the continued payment of the flight allowance is estimated to be $114,540 for the remainder of the 1997-98 financial year and $917,000 on a full year basis.

11.The continued payment of a flight allowance has no impact on fees and charges for services provided by the CAD.


12.Members first approved on 14 December 1988 the payment of a flight allowance to Senior Operations Officers occupying FOI posts in CAD to resolve difficulties in filling these posts. Members further approved on three occasions in 1992, 1994 and 1996 21 February 1992, 28 January 1994 and 9 February 1996 the continued payment of the allowance, each for a period of two years.

Economic Services Bureau
December 1997

Enclosure to FCR(97-98)84

Job Description of Flight Operations Inspectors (FOIs)

Rank : Senior Operations Officer

Responsible to Chief, Flight Standards for -

  1. Determining and reporting upon the level of operational safety of the holders of Air Operator's Certificates (AOC) by means of inspection and surveillance, including -

      1.1Conducting routine station facility, ramp and base inspections, and any other form of inspection or check considered necessary by Chief, Flight Standards.

      1.2Conducting routine flight deck and cabin inspections during normal line operations and ensuring flight operations procedures are carried out in accordance with the operator's operations manual and comply with all relevant legislation.

      1.3Continuously reviewing operator's documentation including operations manuals, training manuals and all other instructions to operating staff.

      1.4Observing flight crew training, monitoring standards and ensuring training is carried out in accordance with the operator's training manual and comply with all relevant legislation.

  2. Ensuring that holders of AOC are aware of any deficiencies found during inspection, and following up on the remedial action taken.

  3. Examining persons nominated by operators for appointment as authorised examiners.

  4. Observing and reporting upon authorised examiners conducting flight crew proficiency checks, including the issue of initial and recurrent approval.

  5. Conducting and reporting on evaluation tests for the approval of flight simulators; and preparing and issuing simulator approval documents.

  6. Approving and monitoring operators' schemes for the prevention of fatigue in aircrew.

  7. Inspecting and approving emergency procedures training equipment and the persons who control them.

  8. Liaising with operators on specialist subjects such as Low Weather Minima Operation, Ground Proximity Warning System, inertial navigation equipment, Traffic Collision Avoidance System, Satellite Communication, etc.

  9. Initial vetting of Mandatory Occurrence Reports.

  10. Providing advice and assistance on flight operations matters as required.

  11. Exercising delegated authority under the Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order 1995 (the 1995 Order) concerning matters such as issue of AOC and approval of flight simulator etc.

  12. Exercising the powers of an Authorised Person under the 1995 Order concerning matters such as aircrew licensing and rating.