Australian Airports Association (AAA), with support from the Australian Logistics Council, Regional Aviation Association of Australia and Royal Flying Doctor Service, launched (18-Oct-2017) the ‘Protect Regional Airports’ campaign designed to improve safety and access for passengers at rural and regional airports. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of the contribution regional airports make to Australia and to encourage the Australian Government to commit to the following funding proposals:
- Extend and expand the Regional Aviation Access Programme (RAAP) to AUD15 million (USD11.8 million), allowing remote communities to also benefit;
- Develop a new AUD25 million (USD19.6 million) p/a programme similar to the RAAP that would allow regional centres to apply for funding.
Funding contribution would be evenly split between local/state governments and the Federal Government, with applications to be assessed on a case by case basis. The proposed funding would enable a range of safety improvements, including improved lighting, runways and animal fencing. There are more than 2000 landing strips and airports in Australia, including 250 that provide public transport. Regional airports employ and support more than 4000 staff and account for 45% of Australia’s tourism revenue, according to AAA CEO Caroline Wilkie. Ms Wilkie said independent analysis shows an AUD170 million (USD133.4 million) shortfall in maintenance and infrastructure funding at regional airports and costs for airports are expected to increase 40% over the next 10 years. Ms Wilkie said: “Australian airports have some of the world’s highest safety standards and this is something we are very proud of. To achieve and maintain these standards is an expensive exercise”. [more – original PR]