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Thursday, 20 November 1986
Page: 2650

(Question No. 1390)

Senator Morris asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 24 September 1986:

(1) Under what circumstances are licensed airline operators entitled to cancel scheduled flights.

(2) What arrangements is an operator required to make, when a scheduled flight is cancelled, regarding notification, accommodation and alternative transportation of passengers booked on the cancelled flight.

(3) What were the circumstances in which schedule flights of F28 aircraft operated by Air New South Wales were cancelled on Sunday, 21 September 1986 and were they proper, given the answer to part (1) of this question.

(4) What arrangements were made for the notification, accommodation and alternative transport of passengers booked on those flights and were they proper, given the answer to part (2) of this question.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) The cancellation of scheduled flights and the resulting notification of passengers, arrangement of accommodation and alternative transport are commercial matters for the airline concerned.

While the Air Navigation Regulations require airline operators to submit timetables for approval, this is directed at ensuring the safety of air navigation.

The Commonwealth has no authority to regulate intrastate air services on other grounds such as economic and public interest considerations. In New South Wales, these are matters for the State Government.

(3) Air New South Wales has provided the following advice in relation to the cancellations of flights on 21 September 1986.

On Sunday 21 September 1986, two of the airline's three F28 aircraft were unserviceable. F27 aircraft would normally be substituted to undertake the services, however, an industrial ban restricted Air New South Wales; ability to do so on this occasion. The first of the unserviceable F28 aircraft was returned to regular services at midday on 21 September. The second aircraft was re-introduced into service on Monday 22 September.

(4) The airline made alternative travel arrangements for its passengers. The airline's policy is to provide passenger accommodation although, in this instance, no passengers required such assistance.