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Thursday, 25 March 1965

Senator HENTY - This is one of the first problems I tackled when I became Minister for Civil Aviation. I studied the results of the long examination which my predecessor had made of the problem but, after very close consideration, I have been unable to find a solution. When we take into account - as the airlines have to do - the efficient utilisation of jet aircraft and the ancillary services operating from each airport where trunk line jet aircraft land, we see that the overall pattern of these timetables is one of adhering to the times when most people in Australia wish to travel. Which airline is to be asked to move out of that pattern? Whichever one does so will lose a considerable amount of revenue. Both airlines are conducted on a business basis. They have their aircraft at the airports at the time when the majority of the people wish to travel.

This matter has been proved by fact over and over again. Trans-Australia Airlines at one time moved away from this pattern to test the position. It moved away half an hour from the early start at one airport, but it lost passengers. It moved away an hour and saw the other airline put on two aircraft to carry the extra passengers while it lost further passengers. T.A.A. returned to the time when the majority of the passengers wanted to travel, and regained its passengers. This matter has been tested. I have tried assiduously to have the system altered, but after a close study of the position and after being fully informed by both the airlines and my Department on the matter, I am satisfied that the airlines must provide a service when the majority of the passengers wish to travel. Because the airlines must utilise the £3 million jets at airports from which a great number of ancillary aircraft fly to inland areas, the present pattern must be followed.

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