The Australian Aviation Associations’ Forum has called for the privatisation of Airservices, with the funds used to set up an Aviation Future Fund.
The Forum says the current Airservices’ model is “no longer capable of effectively responding to emerging aviation opportunities or the need for greater efficiency”.
“The partially-corporatised model under which Airservices Australia has operated for almost 20 years is increasingly incapable of delivering efficient and affordable air traffic services in a growing aviation market,” said TAAAF’s 2016 policy document, which was released on Thursday.
“Airservices should be privatised along the lines of the Canadian air traffic provider, Nav Canada, which has operated successfully and safely for over 20 years.
“Nav Canada is a not-for-profit regulated monopoly owned by industry stakeholders who are represented on the governing board and surpluses are reinvested in the corporation or used to reduce prices.”
As part of the privatisation of Airservices, TAAAF also called for major airport operators to be responsible for day-to-day management of aircraft noise reporting and take over aviation rescue and fire-fighting services.
TAAAF estimates the privatisation of Airservices would generate about $1 billion. Of that, $500 million should be spent on a developing training, research and leadership programs.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia (AOPA), which has 2,600 members and aims to represent the general aviation sector, has also called for Airservices to be privatised.
The federal government has said previously it did not support the privatisation of Airservices.
With a federal election likely to be held on July 2, TAAAF is also calling for the federal government to appoint a Minister Assisting for Aviation, whose role would be to “oversee and coordinate a new aviation strategy for Australia”.
A national aviation strategy and integrated aviation infrastructure master plan were also needed to meet the forecast growth in demand over the next two decades.
“The Forum believes there are significant savings for industry and government through a more efficient planning process,” TAAAF said.
TAAAF has also proposed changes to the Civil Aviation Act, given Australia’s “highly prescriptive approach to aviation safety” had “hindered the development of the industry for little discernible safety benefit”.
TAAAF chair – and former Airservices chief executive – Greg Russell said the association’s proposed policy initiatives offered “real pathways to improved services, savings for the taxpayer and more effective regulation”.
“It is estimated that over $2.2 billion in benefits to government, industry and society would be realised from the adoption of these policies,” Russell said in a statement.
“A new approach to aviation challenges through a government/industry partnership would make Australia into a regional aviation leader and drive growth and opportunities across the nation.”
The full policy document can be downloaded here.