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Thursday, 9 May 1968

Mr SWARTZ (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Civil Aviation) - The indications so far are that the commuter services, as they are termed, are providing a much needed service in the air transport system, and are proving to be successful. They were introduced to supplement the airline services, especially in distant areas. In the main, light aircraft are used, and they operate under conditions that differ from those laid down for airline operations. They operate under standards in between those which apply to airline operations and those which apply to charter operations. I shall be doing an evaluation before the end of this calendar year. When I have full information regarding these operations, I shall seek leave to make a statement in the House.

One of the features of these services is that no subsidy is paid, and the operators know when they apply for a licence that their operations will not be subsidised. The operators who are undertaking these services successfully are doing so without any form of subsidy. The economic factor enters into the matter. The type of service provided is not required to be up to the standard of an airline service and, therefore, the costs are lower. For instance, the capital cost of the light aircraft that are used is lower than the capital cost of the aircraft used in airline operations. Furthermore, the operating costs generally are lower. Accordingly, on economic grounds, there is not the same need for a subsidy as with airline operations. It has been made quite clear from time to time in this House that, whenever a commuter service is introduced, no subsidy will be granted.

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