‘Dedicated funding needed to sustain regional airports’

A federal parliamentary inquiry has recommended setting up a regional aerodrome infrastructure fund accessible to owner/operators.

The interim report into Australia’s general aviation industry said the ongoing financial viability and adequacy of airport infrastructure in rural and regional communities was a clear issue, with significant financial pressure being placed on local councils.

“It is alarming that most airports outside of major urban centres often operate at loss or, at best, break even,” the report said.

“It is imperative that the Australian Government continue to provide local governments with access to financial support that ensures airports in rural and regional communities remain operational, and that airport infrastructure meets CASA and air safety requirements.”

“The Department [of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development] must work with local governments to determine how best to support and ensure the ongoing operations of airports in rural and regional communities.”

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee report recommended establishing a legislative framework and associated guidelines for an infrastructure fund “as a matter of priority”.

“The fund should be accessible to operators of regional and remote aerodromes and should be provided with ongoing and long‑term funding,” the committee said.

In other aviation news, the Federal Opposition has committed to delivering a new aviation white paper if it wins office next month.

Among other things, the paper will consider:

  • How to support and regenerate Australia’s general aviation sector; and
  • Better mechanisms for consultation on and management of issues like aircraft noise, airport development planning, and changing security requirements.