Former Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin has been appointed deputy chair of Airservices Australia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack made the announcement on Friday.
ACM Binskin was Chief of Defence Force from July 2014 until July 2018, when he handed the reins to Australian Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell and retired from the military after a 40-year career.
He was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Mirage and Hornet pilot after transferring from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) following the decommissioning of the RAN’s HMAS Melbourne and its fixed wing air combat fleet in 1982.
In addition to being Chief of Defence Force, during his career ACM Binskin also commanded 77SQN and Air Combat Group, and has held the positions of Air Commander Australia, Chief of Air Force and Vice Chief of Defence Force.
“Air Chief Marshal Binskin brings outstanding governance, aviation and military experience to the Deputy Chair’s role on Airservices’ Board,” McCormack said in a statement.
“An active civil aviation pilot, Air Chief Marshal Binskin also brings considerable leadership experience to his new role, together with in-depth knowledge of major projects, finance and governance, especially with the Australian Defence Force.”
ACM Binskin’s appointment comes three months after another former Chief of Defence Force Sir Angus Houston stepped down in June as Airservices chair after seven years on the board.
It also ensures the board retains a director with military experience at a time where Airservices and Defence continue work on the ambitious OneSKY program.
In February 2018, Airservices, the Department of Defence and Thales signed the final contracts worth $1.2 billion to build OneSKY – known to Defence as Project AIR 5431 Phase 3 – which will replace the currently separate civil and Defence air traffic management systems under a single program.
Thales was named as the successful supplier for Onesky at the 2015 Avalon Airshow.
The Airservices corporate plan for 2018/19 said it expected to complete the system design review of the Civil Military Air Traffic Management System (CMATS), which is running two years late, by the second quarter of the financial year.
“The program of work for the coming year will focus on finalising the system design review for the core CMATS capability, and commencing work on support facilities (including Air Traffic Service Centres) and enabling capabilities (such as the roll out of new voice communications systems in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane),” the Airservices corporate plan published in August said.
Further, the corporate plan said activities and associated enabling projects for OneSky would be the central focus of Airservices’ capital expenditure over the five years to 2022/23. It said OneSky would account for $724 million, or 59 per cent, of total capital expenditure over the five-year period.
The figure is above the $652 million, or 61 per cent of total spend, in the 2017/18 corporate plan published a year ago.
Sir Angus described Onesky as the “most important development in the safe management of Australia’s skies since the dawn of Australian aviation”.
“Work is well underway, with the benefits being delivered progressively over the roll-out period,” Sir Angus said in the 2018/19 corporate plan.
The corporate plan said the first Defence OneSky tower would be in operation between 2019/20 and 2022/23.
AIR 5431 Phase 3was placed on Defence’s Projects of Concern list in August 2017.
It was removed from the list in February 2018.