Australian aviation associations have been glowing in their praise of the Federal Goverment's new Aviation Recovery Framework, which was released just before Christmas.
The framework, released on 20 December, is aimed primarily at recovery from the pandemic, but also acknowledges the condition of the general aviation industry and contains initiatives that have the potential to stimulate growth.
Several of Australia's aviation associations have had significant input to the framework, either as direct feedback to the department or through membership of the General Aviation Advisory Network (GAAN).
Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) CEO Steven Campbell praised the support provided to regional and remote areas, including further funding for the Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program as well as $15 million in grants for remote airstrip upgrades and $6.6 million for the Remote Air Services Scheme
In a statement issued shortly after the framework was made public, Campbell said the RAAA welcomed many of the measures, seeing them as crucial to the future of regional aviation in Australia.
“Whilst many of the programs in the framework are already on the way, we look forward to working with government officials on areas such as revitalising general aviation and aviation skills shortages in the regions.” he said.
“Our organisations are struggling to recruit or train new engineers in our regional areas, so it is important for the government to assist the aviation industry in providing incentives for people to work in remote parts of Australia and improve accessibility to training resources."
Campbell also said the RAAA was standing by to assist the Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development in implementing the framework, which was to be supervised by a new Strategic Aviation Advisory Forum.
“We have already had numerous forums and reviews into our industry, there are also many representative organisations such as ours that the government can utilise, so we hope that the government will not waste any time in forming their Strategic Aviation Advisory Forum; we cannot afford to delay the work needed to be done to ensure supply of resources to regional Australia.
“Support to help introduce aircraft surveillance equipment is also welcomed, whilst most of our members would already have this equipment installed due to previous requirements, the airspace system needs as many aircraft equipped as possible to ensure the system works as intended."
Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive James Goodwin said that his association welcomed the investment, but said more needed to be done.
“Operators of rural and remote airstrips are pleased to see the government invest a further $15 million in the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program (RAUP) which will fund critical infrastructure upgrades to ensure our remote and indigenous communities remain connected to the rest of Australia.
“A third round of the Regional Airports Program (RAP) is also welcome however no further funds have been allocated.
"Maintaining existing and building new infrastructure assets remains the number one challenge for both large and small regional airports and we would encourage the government to consider a top-up of the funds for this program as part of the Federal Budget in March."
Among other initiatives in the framework was a subsidy to encourage operators of VFR aircraft to fit ADS-B units to increase the surveillance capacity of the technology.
Matt Bouttell, CEO of Recreational Aviation Australia said today that RAAus was grateful that the government has invested in the general aviation industry.
"These measures will yield financial and safety benefits for many years to come," he said. "Furthermore, we’re encouraged to see that the RAAus submissions made to the Airservices Australia Class E Proposals earlier this year did not fall on deaf ears, and that our contribution whilst working across government and it’s agencies has assisted in making the ADS-B funding become a reality.
“We see this initiative as not only improving air traffic management surveillance and safety, but it will stimulate aircraft maintenance by supporting jobs and enabling the safe integration of new technology such as Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).
"From a financial perspective, this scheme will enable the retirement of costly enroute radar infrastructure and see other efficiencies be derived, resulting in savings being passed onto industry in the longer term."
The complete Aviation Recovery Framework is available by clicking on the link below.