Regional Aviation Assn of Australia notes challenges for regional operators, seeks state support

18 June, 2018

Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) said there needed to be more support from the NSW Government for regional airlines (ABC, 18-Jun-2018). RAAA CEO Mike Higgins noted the challenges for regional airlines to operate profitably, stating: "A number of our operators are operating on very slim margins due to the long, thin routes that the aircraft fly and the small size of the aircraft". Mr Higgins further explained: "If you are operating a 737 that Virgin or Qantas operate, passenger numbers plus or minus 15 or 20 really doesn't make much difference... But on our operators' sized aircraft, one or two passengers can make a difference of operating at a loss or making ends meet. To survive, we need high load factors; that is, the aircraft need to be almost full, if not full, on every flight. In terms of financial support I think the Queensland Government sets the benchmark [by] providing subsidies to routes through remote communities. I would encourage other state governments to engage with the Queensland Government to see the kind of benefits that sort of investment can provide".