Wednesday, 18th March 2020: The Federal Government has today announced a $715 million coronavirus support package for Australia’s domestic and international airlines, waiving aviation fuel excise, air service charges, along with domestic and international security charges – but no mention of our struggling general aviation sectors.
Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack has described the support as a “major relief package” that would be back-dated to apply charges from the 1st February, refunding some $160 million in charges to the industry.
“Providing this assistance not only helps our airlines but the entire aviation industry, regional Australian’s in particular and other industries such as tourism and trade, which rely on aviation”, Mr McCormack said.
Whilst the package delivers direct and meaningful financial support for the airline industry, Australia’s struggling general aviation (GA) charter, maintenance and flight training sectors have gone without mention.
“The general aviation sector is as vital to regional Australian’s as our domestic and international airlines are, serving to connect some of Australia’s most remote and inaccessible communities “, Benjamin Morgan CEO AOPA Australia.
“The GA sector is already reporting significant financial losses, with operators informing AOPA Australia that they are facing closure if relief cannot be provided in the short term.
“AOPA Australia has today written to the Deputy Prime Minister on behalf of the general aviation charter sector, requesting that they be included in the relief package, along with additional measures, including; the waiving of all CASA charges to assist smaller operators, tax relief and government-backed loans.
“Our association also calls on privatised and local government airport operators to be proactive in providing direct leasehold/rental and user charge relief, to assist smaller operators with their operating cashflow.
“I invite general aviation business that are experiencing difficulty during this time to reach out and make contact with AOPA Australia, our association is at the ready to work with operators in seeking relief and support on their behalf. Call 0415 577 724.” he said.