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Monday, 20 May 1985
Page: 2129

Senator ZAKHAROV —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation. In view of a number of representations regarding the lack of a commuter air service between Sale and Melbourne, I ask the Minister: When was the airport at Sale closed to commercial passenger services? What was the reason for the termination? Has any investigation been made into the current viability of such a service in view of the apparent demand?

Senator RYAN —The West Sale airfield was transferred from the Commonwealth to the Sale Aerodrome Committee during 1983 under the aerodrome local ownership plan. I am advised that at the time of transfer a commuter air service was operated between Sale and Melbourne by a company trading as Northwest Airlines. However, this service ceased in October 1983. Apparently some seven or so other operators have also attempted to operate air services between Sale and Melbourne over the last 15 years, but these have proved unsuccessful. I point out that the Commonwealth has no jurisdiction in the economic regulation of intrastate air services. This matter is entirely the responsibility of the respective States. I am advised that within Victoria air services are not subject to any form of economic regulation, so that any operator who wants to operate air services to Sale is free to do so. The question of the viability of such services is therefore a matter for examination by any prospective operator.