The Australian Airports Association (AAA) says regional airports are coming under increasing pressure to cut their charges from airlines.
In a February 13 statement, the AAA said about a third of Australia’s regional airports are already making a loss, while the rest are struggling to raise sufficient funds in order to develop and maintain their infrastructure, and that calls from airlines to further reduce landing and other charges are unsustainable.
“The majority of Australia’s regional airports that support regular passenger transport (RPT) services are owned and operated by local governments, to ensure their communities have aviation services for business, tourism, education, access freight and access to services only available in metropolitan centres,” said Caroline Wilkie, CEO of the AAA said.
‘Around one-third of our regional airports owned by local government bodies are making a loss, while others struggle to raise the funds needed to develop and maintain the infrastructure demanded by airlines and the Commonwealth Government through its aviation safety and security regulations.’
The AAA’s comments come in the wake of Rex subsidiary AirLink citing “ambivalent” attitudes of council mayors and “significant commercial risk” as its reasons for walking away from negotiations to conduct interim operations from Mudgee and Cobar to Sydney.
“Regional airport operators also assume considerable risk when investing in airport infrastructure, as there is no guarantee that airlines will continue services at current schedules or with their current sized aircraft,” Wilkie added. “Indeed, the Brindabella Airlines collapse has left some local government authorities owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid airport charges.”