For discussion
on 5 June 1996


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Civil Aviation Department with effect from 1 July 1996 -

1 Chief Operations Officer

(D1) ($80,450 - $85,400)


We need to create a civil service directorate post in the Airworthiness Office of Civil Aviation Department (CAD) to take on work currently carried out by an officer seconded from the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UKCAA).


2. The Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) proposes to create one permanent post of Chief Operations Officer (COO)(D1), entitled Chief, Airworthiness Standards (C,AS) to head the Airworthiness Office in the Flight Standards and Airworthiness Division (FSAD) and to assume the supervisory responsibility for airworthiness duties.


Creation of a Chief Operations Officer post

3. The DCA is responsible for ensuring the continuing airworthiness of all aircraft registered in Hong Kong and compliance with the international airworthiness standards set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

4. To discharge these functions, the Airworthiness Office regulates the maintenance and airworthiness standards of all Hong Kong registered aircraft. These responsibilities include the approval of aircraft maintenance schedules and the inspection, approval and routine audit of aircraft maintenance organisations which maintain Hong Kong registered aircraft both in Hong Kong and overseas. The Office also undertakes periodic airworthiness surveys of all Hong Kong registered aircraft and is responsible for the examination and licensing of aircraft maintenance engineers.

5. Currently, the duties of the Airworthiness Office fall on to three Senior Operations Officers (SOOs) and three Operations Officers (OOs), recruited locally, and a team of four airworthiness professionals seconded from the UKCAA. The UKCAA team comprises a surveyor-in-charge (SIC), a deputy surveyor-in-charge (DSIC) and two surveyors. The SIC is at present the head of the Airworthiness Office and supervises its work. Apart from undertaking airworthiness functions, the UKCAA team is also responsible for training up recruits. The secondment arrangement is open ended, terminable upon six months’ notice.

6. The CAD has long recognised the need in good time to replace the UKCAA advisory service by in-house expertise. In 1988, CAD began this process by creating a new stream, in addition to the already established specialised streams of professional officers within the OO grade in CAD (i.e. the Air Services; Technical and Planning; and Safety Officer Streams). The newly created stream, called the Airworthiness Stream, was to recruit locally qualified officers who have experience in airworthiness and to deploy them exclusively to such duties with a view to replacing all secondees from the UKCAA.

7. Recruitment has not been easy because of the very specialised qualification requirements. The applicants are required to have completed an engineering apprenticeship in the aerospace industry; hold either a degree in Aeronautical Engineering or a Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma or equivalent in relevant aeronautical subjects; possess a valid CAD Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s Licence and have a minimum of seven years post qualification experience (four years for the OO posts) in the maintenance of civil transport aircraft types on the Hong Kong register. Between 1988 and 1991, CAD held three local recruitment exercises but recruited only one SOO and one OO in April 1989 and in November 1991 respectively. Between 1992 and 1994, the Department was unable to move on with its effort because of the need to accord priority in resource allocation to the expansion of the air traffic control services to cope with the growing traffic at Kai Tak Airport and to prepare for the opening of the new airport at Chek Lap Kok. It was not until October 1995 that the Department recruited four officers at the SOO and OO rank.

8. With the new recruits, the Department is now in a position to continue to reduce its reliance on the seconded officers. Its plan is to phase out progressively the UKCAA staff by the year 1999 as the CAD officers gain more experience and proficiency. DCA advises that the UKCAA team cannot be released immediately as their expertise is required to train up the newly recruited staff and also to handle the tremendous workload falling on the Airworthiness Office. The training of new recruits normally takes one year which includes six months’ attachment to the UKCAA and another six months in-house training to enable them to become familiar with the airworthiness regulatory requirements and procedures. The current SIC and DSIC will return to the UK in the middle of 1997. The remaining two surveyors will continue to work for CAD to help cope with the growing workload as well as to train further local recruits until being phased out, with one in mid-1998 and the other in 1999, by which time there should be sufficient locally recruited staff. The Department has discussed this plan with the UKCAA and they have agreed to it.

9. The workload of the Airworthiness Office has been increasing with the increase in the size of the fleet of Hong Kong airlines, the number of aircraft types and the number of new deliveries as a result of aircraft replenishment programme of Hong Kong airlines. Between 1988 and 1995, the number of aircraft on the Hong Kong register increased by 10.6 % per annum from 52 to 105. In addition, Hong Kong airlines acquired three new aircraft types between 1993 and 1995 and one so far in 1996. There were 14 deliveries of new aircraft in 1995 and we expect 17 for 1996. Based on this trend, CAD estimates that they would need to recruit four more officers over the next two years to cope with the increasing workload.

10. In order to assume in-house the work currently carried out by the UKCAA experts, DCA considers that it is appropriate to create a new post of COO to head the Airworthiness Office. DCA considers that in view of the significant increase in training of new staff and in workload, he should create the new COO post now, and overlap for a period with the SIC.

11. The existing and proposed organisational structure of the FSAD and the job description for the C,AS post are at Enclosures 1, 2 and 3 respectively.


12. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point is -


No. of Post

New permanent post



The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $1,765,548. DCA has included sufficient provision in the 1996-97 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.

13. This proposal has no other financial and staffing implications.


14. Civil Service Branch agrees that there is a need for additional support at the directorate level to ensure the continuing airworthiness of aircraft registered in Hong Kong and compliance with the international standards. The grading and ranking of the post are appropriate having regard to the job nature.

15. The existing SIC is equivalent to a Senior Principal Officer in the UK Home Civil Service. In the CAA Aircraft Maintenance Standards Department, such officers are Heads of Sections or Regional Managers and report directly to the Head of Department. We thus consider that an appropriate ranking for the post is D1.


16. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the permenent post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.

Economic Services Branch May 1996

Enclosure 1 to EC(96-97)18

Flight Standards and Airworthiness (FSA) Division -- Existing Organisation Chart

Warning : The chart is quite large, it may take some time to load.

Enclosure 2 to EC(96-97)18

Flight Standards and Airworthiness (FSA) Division -- Proposed Organisation Chart

Warning : The chart is quite large, it may take some time to load.

Enclosure 3 to EC(96-97)18

Job Description

Title : Chief, Airworthiness Standards

Responsible to : Assistant Director (Flight Standards)

Responsible for :

1. overseeing the implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices relating to airworthiness and of the Hong Kong airworthiness requirements;

2. developing and drafting airworthiness policy and procedures, in accordance with the relevant ICAO Standards, to accommodate changes to and expansion of the Hong Kong air transport industry;

3. the administration of the Airworthiness Office;

4. the type certification of aircraft, including their engines, components, accessories, instruments and equipment and the issue of certificates of airworthiness;

5. making recommendations regarding the grant of Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) and the routine inspection and surveillance of the activities of holders of AOCs;

6. the investigation of organisations and persons seeking approval to issue certificates of maintenance and compliance under the Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order and their continuing surveillance;

7. the examination and licensing of aircraft maintenance engineers in accordance with relevant ICAO Standards;

8. the administration of the Mandatory Occurrence Reporting scheme in respect of engineering occurrences which might have an effect on aviation safety; and

9. the investigation of engineering aspects of aircraft accidents.


Last Updated on 3 December 1998