Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive James Goodwin has called on the Federal Government to provide critical support for regional airports.
The call comes in a AAA submission to the ALP Federal Budget, which is expected to be handed down on 14 May this year, and includes proposals to close the infrastructure gap at regional and remote airports by re-instating grant programs such as RAP and RAUP, improving consumer confidence with the introduction of an independent Airline Ombudsman, and implementing an independent review of Airservices Australia.
“Airports are critical infrastructure, providing services that generate substantial employment and increasing connectivity within Australia and internationally,” Goodwin said.
“It is important the Federal Government considers ways to unlock investment by reducing red tape so airports can continue supporting local communities by facilitating a diverse spectrum of aviation, tourism, and freight services.
“We urge the government to address anti-competitive behaviour in domestic aviation, funding safety critical aeronautical infrastructure and providing disaster resilience funding programs.
“The submission also lists recommendations for maximising aviation’s contribution to net zero, developing consistent security screening regulations and supporting the delivery of skills and workforce development programs for airports."
Other initiatives touted in the AAA submission to the budget are:
- a mid-size airport program (MAP) to provide infrastructure support to key regional and metro airports
- setting a viable target for the SAF industry before any form of mandate is introduced, as well as incentives for a domestic SAF industry
- funding the ACCC to monitor Airservices Australia fees
- support emerging aviation technology, including airport infrastructure
- support the AAA to deliver a skills program involving First Nations, women and young people.
According to the AAA, a recent Deloittes analysis found that Australia's airports contributed $15 billion to the nation economy and supported 690,000 jobs.
The full budget submission is on the AAA website.