30/06/2009 - 15:20

State moves to guarantee air services

30/06/2009 - 15:20

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Transport Minister Simon O'Brien says securing regular passenger air services for the state is more important than wholesale deregulation as negotiations continue with existing regional airlines over new long-term contracts.

State moves to guarantee air services

Transport Minister Simon O'Brien says securing regular passenger air services for the state is more important than wholesale deregulation as negotiations continue with existing regional airlines over new long-term contracts.

 

The announcement is below:

 

 

Transport Minister Simon O'Brien has announced that regional Western Australia will be guaranteed regular passenger air services.

Mr O'Brien said the State Government believed it more important to put regional WA's need for regular passenger air services ahead of wholesale deregulation of intrastate air routes.

"Securing air routes for regional communities, which may have lost their regular passenger services if deregulation was allowed to proceed, is the government's main priority," he said.

"Airlines around the world and domestically are struggling; for example, since 1960, 43 WA based regular passenger transport airlines have collapsed. Deregulating the system in the current environment does not secure the best outcome for regional WA.

"The airline industry is in a delicate state, it needs certainty where presently there is uncertainty."

The Minister said he offered the two existing main regional network operators, Skywest and Skippers Aviation 12-month extensions while arrangements for long-term contracts were negotiated and both companies had accepted this proposal.

"I will immediately set about working with the aviation sector to negotiate appropriate long-term arrangements that will give airlines and passengers the security and certainty they need for the future," he said.

"The way to guarantee future services will be to give airlines the long-term certainty they need to invest in new aircraft and other infrastructure."

The Minister said as soon as long-term arrangements had been agreed, the 12-month extension would be annulled, with the new arrangements beginning immediately.

"What is essential though is that Western Australian air service providers have the long term stability to provide even better services," Mr O'Brien said.

"In the coming months I will be visiting those communities for whom regular air services are a vital link.

"This will enable me to take soundings and seek feedback on what additional service levels and standards regional communities would like to see improved upon as the State Government negotiates long term contract arrangement with regional air service providers."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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