Heavy weather for aviation sector

BROOME Aviation marketing coordinator Bill Hutton described the past year for the industry as “very tough” and “absolutely marginal”, but Broome Aviation had fared better than some, he said.

Broome Aviation had suffered an 11 per cent drop in revenue, Mr Hutton said, but he understood airport revenue had fallen 25 per cent.

The company was appreciative of government support, he said, although it wanted longer and more definitive tender arrangements.

In September of this year, the State Government agreed to fully subsidise the southern services of partner company North West Regional Airlines, allowing Broome Aviation to “seriously initiate full marketing programs”, Mr Hutton said.

However, while Broome Aviation had a 12-month government tender to provide services between Broome and Karratha and Broome and Halls Creek, this tender was reviewable each month, he said, making it difficult to market from a true business plan.

New tourism packages, traditionally needed three years before they delivered benefit, Mr Hutton said.

Another constraint appears to be airport fees.

Mr Hutton and another smaller operator, Seair Broome, said Broome International Airport was one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, airport in Australia for small operators.

Head taxes had gone up recently and landing taxes were high, Mr Hutton said.

Broome International Airport chief executive officer Kim Maisey confirmed some fees had been increased three months ago, but not landing fees.

And on November 1 passenger handling and security screening charges had gone up.

However, these had been the first increases since 1996, Mr Maisey said.

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