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Wednesday, 8 November 1967

Mr SWARTZ (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Civil Aviation) - The matter of an air route to South America has been under careful investigation by my Department and by Qantas for the last 2 or 3 years. There are problems associated with this matter. Firstly there are technical problems related to the long . sectors involved. Secondly there is the problem of the type of airport facilities available in South America. I understand that in a number of . centres in South America airport facilities have been improved considerably and perhaps the technical problems in this connection could be overcome. Another problem relates to the commercial viability of such a proposal. This is not quite so easy of solution because the indications at the moment are that an air service to South America would not be a viable proposition. The matter is being kept under review. We hope that . at ,some time in the future the operation of an air service to South America will be commercially feasible. In that event we will enter into negotiations with the countries concerned for routes under air service agreements. I should mention that the area is already being serviced fairly substantially by the Qantas route to Mexico, connecting with flights direct to most South American countries. If the honourable member has in mind a visit to South America, we can provide that service via Mexico, linking up very quickly with the countries of South America.

As to the provision of an international airport in the Pilliga scrub, as I stated in a reply some time ago to the honourable member, this matter has been considered. We have considered quite a number of areas in various States with a view to overcoming the problems of future expansion. This matter is currently in our minds, but obviously no decision can be made at this time. The facilities for servicing New South Wales will be centred on Sydney for many years to come but, with an eye to long term planning, perhaps by the end of the century consideration will have to be given to the Pilliga scrub.

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