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Supplemental airline services will benefit rural areas



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SUPPLEMENTAL AIRLINE SERVICES WILL BENEFIT RURAL AREAS

(Statement by the Minister for Civil Aviation) Senator Shane Paltridge.

The Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Shane Paltridge, said in Brisbane today that the Supplemental airline services to be operated by Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A. would bring regular air transport to many rural towns and cities where traffic was too low to

justify larger aircraft such as the DC-3.

They would increase the frequency of air services to some rural areas and would ensure the continuation of regular services on some routes where traffic was light.

Senator Paltridge was replying to criticism of the introduction of supplemental airline services by the Association of Commercial Flying Organizations which represents light aircraft charter operators.

He said the new services did not favour Ansett Airlines over T.A.A. T.A.A. was anxious to introduce the services and would begin its operations in Tasmania and Queensland. Identical permission had been given to both airlines.

Senator Paltridge said the introduction of the services would be on a trial basis. They would be watched carefully by the Department which would also watch the charter operators' position closely. They were not a device to run charter operators but of business.

The airlines had been selected to initially undertake the service because of their large technical and maintenance organisations, their fine safety records, and their experience in regular public transport. They would use twin engined Piaggio or Aero Commander aircraft carrying up to 10 passengers at some 200 miles per hour. These cost about £70,000 each. They would be flown by airline standard pilots and operated with considerable payload restrictions to improve their operational performance.

"Airlines are the obvious choice to operate these services during the trial period. Charter operators have never operated regular scheduled services between Australian towns and cities, and the standards required of the holder for a charter licence are significantly below those required under an airline licence", Senator Paltridge said.

He said charter operators would continue in their present "on demand" role. It was a role they filled under Labor and Liberal governments.

Senator Paltridge said there was nothing new in the operation of light twin engined aircraft by airlines. They were operated by T.A.A., airlines in the Ansett group, Papuan Air Transport, and Connellan Airways. However, they had not been used extensively on Australian rural routes.

He said the benefits expected from the new supplemental airline services were illustrated in Tasmania by the fact that towns on the west coast with comparatively small populations and small airfields would get the benefits of regular airline services for the first time.

In Queensland, the Brisbane Kingaroy-Wondai-Gayndah route would have five or six Piaggio services a week instead of three DC3 services as at present.

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The Brisbane-Dirranbandi-Moree route would get an additional frequency to the present one DC3 a week. ·

The Brisbane-Bundaberg route would get another four services a week, additional to the present 14 weekly services operated by Fokker Friendships and DC3's. .

In South Australia, the Adelaide-Millicent-Narracoorte route previously abandoned because traffic could not support a DC3, would be re-opened and it was proposed to operate four Piaggio services a week.

On the Adelaide-Renmark-Mildura route it was proposed to operate three frequencies a week instead of the present two, and on the Adelaide- Kingscote route light twin engined aircraft would be used for occasional back-up services additional to the present services with larger aircraft.

Senator Paltridge said the new services were not a sudden development. The intention to introduce them had been announced two months ago and licensing action had not yet been taken.

He said he had received no representations from the charter operators and was surprised they had waited until a week before the Federal Elections to make allegations of harsh treatment.

"I will bo happy to see their representatives to discuss any problems they may have at a mutually convenient time", Senator Paltridge said.

CANBERRA.

21st November, 1 9 6 3 .