At a glance

Federal government
Discovery & strategy, Build & migration

The purpose

To help Australia's regulatory authority for civil aviation provide a secure and stable website. 

The players

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is the Australian Government’s regulatory authority for civil aviation. CASA regulates everything from the use of airspace to a pilot’s right to enjoy a meal every five hours. As a regulatory body, the website’s content needs to be accurate and ‘always available’.

The problem

CASA’s old website had been presenting challenges for a while. The previous service provider had closed its doors and left behind a legacy proprietary platform that CASA needed to support on its own. Over time the website had become very unstable and required regular reboots — four a day, in fact.

CASA needed a new content management system (CMS) for its large (5000+ pages) website, and they needed it fast.

The solution

CASA chose GovCMS, the Australian-approved content management system for its new site. Developed from a partnership between Acquia and the Online Services Branch of the Department of Finance, GovCMS is built on the award-winning Drupal software, a system that’s easy to use, stable, highly secure and open source (no license fees).

“GovCMS offered stability, security and cost savings while delivering in a short time frame,” said Gabrielle Williams, Project Manager, CASA during her presentation at the Victorian GovCMS lunch event on 20 April 2016.

Salsa’s brief was to bring across the content ‘as is’, so the site looked and behaved the same on the new platform as it did on the old. So for this phase it was hands-off for our design team (no cool designs, no usability enhancements, no site restructuring, etc.). Timeframes were also tight...CASA wanted the new website up and running in only eight weeks.


Discovery workshops with key stakeholders gave us a roadmap for the build and migration. A few weeks later agile stories were written and the build commenced. Only seven weeks after that (following careful planning, engineering and some long hours by CASA, Acquia and Salsa Digital!), the like-for-like website found its new home on the GovCMS platform. It went live on 22 July 2015.

You can read more about the migration process and the technical side of GovCMS in these blogs:

Salsa’s maiden flight with GovCMS

Data and content migration with GovCMS

My first glance at GovCMS

Frontend theming with GovCMS

The benefits

While the CASA website looked the same at this stage, it was very different under the hood. Some of the benefits for CASA included:

  1. A stable and reliable CMS.

  2. An enterprise-grade CMS vetted and approved by the Department of Finance.

  3. 24x7 enterprise support and proactive monitoring.

  4. Security compliance at the highest level.

Since the migration, the site can boast 100% uptime.

With a stable website up and running, CASA could then focus on its digital and content strategy instead of putting out fires. And so it was on to phase 2, which delivered many additional, measurable benefits such as a 34% increase in traffic and a 372% increase in mobile search.