Regional airport battle

ALGA will continue to partner with the Australian Airports Association in efforts to increase essential infrastructure funding for regional airports.

This was agreed at ALGA’s recent board meeting, along with a resolution to continue discussions with AAA about suitable opportunities to present the funding case.

ALGA joined this month with AAA and the Royal Flying Doctor Service to send a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack. The letter drew his attention to "the critical need for Commonwealth assistance" in infrastructure funding.

The letter notes that in October last year the AAA launched "its Protect Regional Airports campaign in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia and the Australian Logistics Council.” ALGA also came out in support of the need to “undertake essential aeronautical infrastructure upgrades and maintenance."

Many regional airports are owned by Local Government and many cause an ongoing financial strain.

"A 2016 study by ACIL Allen found that 61 per cent of regional airports in Australia operate at a financial loss” with rising maintenance and infrastructure costs."

The AAA’s pre-Budget submission calls for an extension of the current Remote Airstrip Upgrade program at $15 million a year for four more years, and a new airport grants program for regional airports at $25 million a year over four years.

The regional airport sector has no dedicated funding assistance, with the exception of remote aerodromes, which receive a small amount of funding under the RAU. The funding is due to expire in July.

Suggestions that screening ­procedures at rural and remote airports should be tightened would impose significant further financial burdens.

Last year Darren Chester, then Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, ordered a review into security.

State, territory and local governments have warned that tougher security at regional airports would mean increased financial strain on airport owners and could see the loss of some air services to the bush.