18 May 2011

Random background checks on pilots stalled

8:06 pm on 18 May 2011

A pilots union says it has temporarily halted a Civil Aviation Authority plan to make what it calls unlawful and secretive background checks.

The authority wants to check on pilots' previous convictions at random without telling them, which the New Zealand Airline Pilots' Association says is an invasion of privacy.

The checks were to have gone ahead this week, but the union sought an interim injunction in the Wellington High Court.

Union president Mark Rammell says the Crown Law Office has told pilots that the background checks will be put on hold until the court has heard the matter, at a date yet to be set.

Mr Rammell says the union is willing to call off the court action, based on the Civil Aviation, Privacy and Human Rights acts, if the authority agrees to write to pilots before they access and store their information.

The authority has defended the checks, saying they are a way of ensuring passenger safety.