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Wednesday, 17 April 1985
Page: 1183

Senator MAGUIRE(6.56) —I will take a few moments to refer to the papers which have been tabled in accordance with the Airlines Agreement Act 1981. The documents that have been tabled are the two reports required from the major domestic airlines-Trans Australia Airlines and Ansett Airlines of Australia-under the airlines agreement. Also tabled was a document on the consultations which have taken place in respect of air fares during 1984. Basically, the documents relating to TAA and Ansett are financial documents which include profit and loss statements and balance sheets. It is pleasing to see that in the financial year to the end of June 1984 TAA had an operating profit, before abnormal items are taken into account, of $14m compared with a loss of $19m in the previous year. That was a very pleasing turnaround and it reflected a very large rise in revenue collected by the airline-from $536m at June 1983 to $622m at 1984.

Tonight, I refer particularly to the vexed question of parallel scheduling between the two airlines which still continues at a high rate in Australia. I was so concerned about this question-the duplicated flight times out of Adelaide-that I carried out an analysis of the times when flights leave within 15 minutes of each other from Adelaide Airport. In respect of flights to Adelaide from Melbourne, it is striking that out of a total of 69 departures by the two airlines combined-that is, 35 departures by TAA and 34 by Ansett-there is a choice of only 36 different departure times. Instead of the apparent 69 departure times which appear in the airline schedules the number of choices available to travellers-not those flights taking place within 15 minutes of each other-comes down to only 36. So there is a huge difference between what the schedules suggest about choice of departure times and the reality. A similar situation occurs in the reverse direction, from Adelaide to Melbourne. Again a total of 69 flights are in the schedules. However, it is very interesting to note that of the 35 Ansett weekly flights from Adelaide to Melbourne, 23 have a parallel departure time with TAA. I know that this problem is a vexed question. It has been the subject of great interest in Western Australia as well as South Australia. It is high time that something was done about this problem which would not be tolerated in any other country.

Debate interrupted.