Regionals Update: Government waivers a boon to Aussie regionals

 - May 9, 2008, 5:15 AM

The government of the southeastern Australian state of New South Wales has voted to grant further concessions to its regional airlines by extending its single-operator protection program to include denser regional routes. Under the revised plan, the state will waive license fees and extend operating licenses from three to five years for all routes traveled by fewer than 50,000 passengers. Before the changes, the concessions applied to routes that were traveled by fewer than 20,000 passengers per year.
Transport minister Carl Scully told the New South Wales parliament in Sydney that the towns of Griffith, Lismore, Moree, Orange, Taree and Lord Howe Island had all joined the list of 31 designated communities as a result of the changes. Blaming both local and federal governments for cost pressures related to fuel taxes, landing and navigation fees and regulatory burdens, Scully vowed to continue to lobby legislators to pass measures aimed at promoting the economic health of regional airlines in Australia.