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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2377

(Question No. 5098)

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 19 February 1987:

(1) How is he assessing the impact of the new charging system on the aviation industry, including the impact on general aviation, which currently has dual-running of the new and old systems of air navigation charges.

(2) Are the claims of many operators that the new charging system is unfairly penalising them and is responsible for increases in air navigation charges of over 1000 per cent in some cases correct; if not, why are they incorrect.

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

(1) Following the recommendations of the Independent Inquiry into Aviation Cost Recovery chaired by Mr Henry Bosch the Government introduced a new system of landing charges for all airlines, in order that air navigation charges would better reflect the actual usage made of facilities provided by the Commonwealth.

In relation to the General Aviation sector the Government accepted a proposal put forward by the general aviation associations that GA aircraft should remain on fixed annual charges during 1986/87 but that landing data should be collected and trial invoices under the new system would be issued to enable operators to assess the impact the landing charges would have on their operations.

The general aviation associations have provided assistance to the Department of Aviation in assessing the impact of the new system by advising of instances where operators might be adversely affected by the new arrangements. The Department has also been comparing invoices for selected operators with the annual charges currently payable by those operators.

(2) No.

In the case of commuter airlines, landing charges introduced on 1 July 1986 meant large percentage increases in ANCs for a number of operators, however these increases were from a very low base and were directly related to the use made of Commonwealth facilities by those operators. Nonetheless, the Government recognised the difficulties faced by some operators in the transition to the new arrangements and provided $2m to assist commuter airlines during 1986-87, in the form of a 50 per cent subsidy for all landings.

The new charging system has not been applied to the general aviation sector in 1986-87 and they have remained on the system of fixed annual charges. These charges were increased by 17 per cent on 1 July 1986 which is less than the increase in the CPI since the last increase in charges in 1982.