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Tuesday, 30 March 1971


Senator COTTON - I wrote down fairly quickly what I. thought were the 4 points raised by the honourable senator in his question. The honourable senator said that the major airlines were in financial trouble. That is not my information. 1 have not been told that by them. The fact that their business has decreased has placed upon them the necessity of making some economies in their own operations. However, this does not indicate financial troubles and I think the honourable senator's conclusion is unwarranted at the moment. It is not true that a lot of the charter companies are in the hands of liquidators or are bankrupt, but it is true that some of them are and for a variety of reasons.

The question of parallel scheduling was very properly raised by the honourable senator. He and the Senate may like to know that I have begun a round of discussions with both domestic operators over a wide area of their responsibility. I have had discussions with them about the problem of parallel scheduling, which has its worst effect at the end of the system - Tasmania, Cairns, north to New Guinea and into Western Australia - in an attempt to improve the situation. The first of such discussions has taken place and there will be many more of them. I am trying to get some improvement in this direction. The problem of small charter operators maintaining a profitable business is one of which I am very conscious and about which I am very concerned. I have to do the best I can in a situation in which one of the problems has been the fact that there has not been a very large demand for their services for a variety of reasons which are outside my control.







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