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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 117

Question No. 181

Mr Tuckey asked the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 19 May 1983:

(1) Did he recently state that the new Ansett Boeing 757 aircraft will be unique in the world in having a flight deck configuration for a flight staff of 3.

(2) If so, having regard to massive advances in technology available to assist a pilot, the fact that Australian flying conditions are amongst the best in the world and the low traffic densities that exist relative to overseas, why was this action thought necessary.

(3) What is the (a) capital (b) hourly operating cost of the aircraft to the airline.

(4) Will he call on the Independent Air Fares Committee to remove specifically a calculated amount from the cost structure of the airline to ensure that the Australian public does not bear the burden of this act of featherbedding.

Mr Beazley —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I am not aware of any proposal by Ansett to acquire Boeing 757 aircraft. However, Ansett has recently taken delivery of its first Boeing 767 aircraft and it is configured for a flight deck crew of three persons whilst all or most other operators using this aircraft type around the world will crew it with two pilots.

(2) So long as my Department's minimum safety requirements are met, as is the case in this instance, the question of staff numbers employed in any area of company activity is a matter for the discretion of the company itself.

(3) The information sought is not in the possession of my Department. Cost data such as this is confidential to the airline.

(4) The Independent Air Fares Committee Act makes no provision for the Minister for Aviation to direct the Committee on such matters.