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Regional airlines support extended

Minister for Transport and Regional Services - Warren Truss
015TRS/Budget 9 May 2006

The Australian Government will spend $5.4 million in 2006-07 to subsidise en route air traffic control charges for regional airlines, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, announced today.

Mr Truss said regional airlines play an important role in connecting regional businesses and regional families with the rest of Australia.

"The Enroute Rebate Charges Scheme will continue to provide assistance to the smaller carriers who are providing a vital service to the seven million Australians who live outside our capital cities," Mr Truss said.

"The scheme will have a sharper focus on regional and remote communities, and will now exclude routes between capital city pairs which are subject to open market conditions, for example, Canberra-Sydney" Mr Truss said

"Regional airlines and aeromedical aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 15 tonnes or less, such as Saab 340s, Metros and Piper Chieftains will continue to be eligible for the scheme.

"Assistance will continue to be extended to services provided on sole operator routes by aircraft between 15 and 21 tonnes for operators wholly based in Western Australia.

"This extension recognises the exceptionally long distances involved in flying to Western Australian destinations, which require the use of larger aircraft," Mr Truss said.

Mr Truss said the scheme originated in 2002 in the wake of the Ansett Airlines collapse and the difficult economic times faced by regional aviation industry.

"The Government has appropriated $26.6 million over the past five financial years. A total of 59 airlines have been registered over the life of the scheme and 55 have claimed the rebate," Mr Truss said.

Media contacts:
Mr Truss' office - Kylie Butler 02 6277 7680 / 0417 652 488