Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti says government should ensure regulation does not stifle the growth and productivity of Australia’s airlines.
Speaking in Canberra to the Transport and Tourism Forum leadership summit’s audience of political and industry figures, Borghetti noted airline productivity had been a key driver of the growth in Australia’s aviation industry over the past decade, and said government had a key role to play to ensure regulatory burdens did not throttle that growth.
“Ensuring that the regulatory and compliance burden is not impeding the growth and competitiveness of the industry is an area where government can very clearly play a role,” Borghetti said on October 29.
“Undertaking the usual business approach of robust cost-benefit analyses before introducing new regulations and considering opportunities to streamline current regulations, or for that matter looking at new approaches rather than simply adding layers and layers of regulation over time, and keeping on putting bandaids in place, are cases in point.”
Borghetti did not elaborate on the regulatory burdens airlines face in his speech, but it is understood, for example, that Virgin supports the lifting of the cap at Sydney Airport to 85 aircraft movements an hour, from 80 currently, given that modern aircraft are often quieter than those flying at the time the cap was introduced.
Moreover, the airline was keen to have the current calculation of the hourly cap, where aircraft movements are assessed in 15-minute blocks, changed to provide greater flexibility and give the airport and operators a better chance to recover from delays due to congestion or bad weather.
Under the existing arrangements, aircraft can be forced to hold at the edge of an available runway while waiting for the clock to tick over to the next 15-minute block.
Meanwhile, Virgin was understood to favour changes to the Fair Work Act that would make it easier to transfer employees within different companies in the airline group.
Specifically, Virgin would like to see an end to the practice of applying to the Fair Work Commission every time an employee transfers between companies in the Virgin Australia Group to prevent the employee’s enterprise bargaining agreement transferring to the new company, particularly when that employee voluntarily agreed to move.