Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme

The “Mail Plane”

Overview

The Remote Air Services Subsidy (RASS) Scheme is part of the Australian Government's Regional Aviation Access Programme (RAAP). RASS subsidises a regular weekly air transport service for the carriage of passengers and goods such as, educational materials, medicines, fresh foods and other urgent supplies to communities in remote and isolated areas of Australia. Due to the distances involved and with road access to many communities often cut for several months during the wet season, a regular air service offers the only reliable means of transport. Mail is carried on these flights under a separate contract with Australia Post.

A RASS community is typically a cattle station or an Indigenous community with a population ranging from six people to approximately 200 people. The population of a typical RASS community may change during the mustering or wet season.

The RASS Scheme provides some 366 communities in remote and isolated areas of Australia with improved access through the subsidy of a regular air transport service. This includes 260 directly serviced locations and a further 106 neighbouring communities that receive mail through RASS ports. The 260 directly serviced locations include 86 Indigenous communities.

There are currently seven air operators providing air transport services to 260 remote communities PDF: 203 KB ReadSpeaker throughout Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Application Process

Communities wishing to apply to the Department for a regular weekly air service provided under the RASS Scheme should read the RASS Guidelines and RASS Eligibility Criteria and complete a RASS Application Form.

Your application will be considered against criteria that include:

  • Having a demonstrated need for a weekly service
  • Being sufficiently remote in terms of surface travel to a population centre or neighbouring community receiving a weekly transport service
  • Having an aerodrome which meets the aviation safety standard applicable to the RASS flight, as determined by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. More information obtained from the relevant air operator.

Communities can apply to the Department for admission to the Scheme at any time.

Next Steps

You can download copies of the following Guideline Documents and Application Form:

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspects of the Scheme in more detail, please contact the RASS Team by calling 1300 768 578 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm AEST for the cost of a local call) or by sending an email to RASS@infrastructure.gov.au

Completed Applications should be sent to:

Director
Remote Aviation Programmes
Aviation Industry Policy
Aviation and Airports Division
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Using RASS

Australia is divided into 10 geographical regions under the RASS Scheme. Each area has an air operator that is contracted by the Australian Government to provide a service in the region.

Air Operators

RASS Region numberRegion nameAir Operator
1 Pilbara, WA Slingair (interim basis)
2 Kimberley, WA Slingair
2 Kimberley, WA—Freight only Services Broome Aviation
3 Channel Country, SA / QLD—Freight Only Services Chinta Air
4 Cape Barren Island, TAS Airlines of Tasmania
5 Cape York, QLD West Wing Aviation
6 Gulf Country, QLD West Wing Aviation
7 NT—North of Tennant Creek Chartair
8 NT—South of Tennant Creek Chartair
8 NT—South of Tennant Creek—Freight Only Services Northern Territory Air Service
9 WA—Tri-State Desert Country Chartair
10 Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY Lands), SA Chartair

Air operators are contracted with the Australian Government for a fixed term and are selected in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

The RASS subsidy is paid directly to the air operator. Air operators providing air services under the RASS Scheme are required to service specified RASS communities.

Australia Post has responsibility for the delivery of mail and may have separate contracts with several RASS air operators for this purpose. However, all matters concerning the delivery of mail should be directed to Australia Post.

Other assistance

Further information on RASS can be obtained by contacting the RAAP Hotline on 1300 768 578 (Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm AEST for the cost of a local call) or email rass@infrastructure.gov.au.

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Last Updated: 16 October, 2015