Permanent set-up and staffing proposals of Air Accident Investigation Authority
The staffing proposals
Mr CHAN Chun-ying expressed support for the permanent set-up of AAIA and the staffing proposals. He noted that the Administration foresaw that the workload of AAIA would increase in the coming years which necessitated a senior deputy to share out the workload of CASI. He enquired about the basis of the anticipated increase in case load as global air transport had shrunk significantly due to the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic. He expected that the number of air accidents and incidents would decrease following the decline in global air traffic. In this connection, he asked if the Deputy CASI should report duty at a later time.
PSTH advised that at the time when the staffing proposal was drawn up, it was anticipated that air traffic in Hong Kong would increase in the coming years, which would increase the workload of AAIA. Although the operation of the Hong Kong International Airport and the aviation industry had been significantly curtailed as the COVID-19 outbreak set in, it was foreseen that the growth of the aviation industry in Hong Kong and worldwide would pick up again when the epidemic subsided.
AAIA’s investigation work and developments
Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that AAIA had so far published one investigation report, and had completed the investigations of eight cases. He enquired when the investigation reports of the eight cases would be published. PSTH advised that for the eight cases the investigation of which had been completed, the relevant reports had been prepared and been sent to various individuals/companies concerned for their representations and/or comments. The reports might be amended as necessary before they were published.
Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked if the expert panel would be incorporated into the official structure of AAIA. DSTH4 advised that the establishment of the expert panel aimed to assist AAIA’s investigation work. Experts in the panel would be invited to give advice on the disciplines where their expertise lay. However, they would not be involved in the investigation work per se.
Report on the work of the Competition Commission
Competition in the auto-fuel market in Hong Kong
Mr CHAN Chun-ying suggested requiring the oil companies to disclose cost information so as to enhance the transparency of the auto-fuel price structure. He did not agree with the Administration’s view that discounts offered by oil companies should be counted in analyzing the levels of auto-fuel prices as such discounts were conditional offers only for certain customers. Mr CHAN also enquired whether the Commission had given any competition-related policy advice to the Government in the past year concerning the auto-fuel market for its consideration and/or action in future.
Ms Anna WU of the Commission said that in conducting the study, the Commission had difficulty in obtaining the requisite information from the oil companies, such as the discount rates offered to customers and the operating costs which they considered as sensitive information. Presuming that ENB might have more information on the cost data of the oil companies than what the Commission could access, she welcomed ENB to share such information with the Commission to facilitate a further study by the Commission.