27 July 2023
LABOR MP TURNS UP HEAT ON KING OVER AVIATION POLICY
Divisions are erupting within the Albanese Labor Government over airlines policy as Australian families suffered through increased flight cancellations and delays in June.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie said Australians are suffering under the poor performance of Australia’s domestic aviation sector with a 15 per cent increase in delayed flights and 17 per cent increase in flight cancellations in June.
“High levels of delayed and cancelled flights are a handbrake on national productivity and the Government’s failure to take action is yet another example of Labor failing to make decisions that would strengthen the economy and help fight inflation,” Senator McKenzie.
“The cost of flights have gone up while service reliability has gone down and the Albanese Government shows no interest in taking action,” Senator McKenzie said.
“This is yet another example of delays in the transport portfolio where policy is on the ‘go slow’.
Data released by the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics shows 13,374 flights were delayed in June and a further 1,627 flights were cancelled in June, a significant increase over delays and cancellations in May.
“Policy recommendations have been provided to the Government to increase competition in the sector but the Government seems unwilling to implement positive changes until the Aviation White Paper process is completed late next year, meaning reforms will not be implemented before 2025 or the next election.
“A long list of aviation decisions have been put on hold or declined by the Government, resulting in Australian families and businesses continuing to pay more for flights and airlines abandoning some regional destinations.
Delayed or declined decisions include implementing recommendations of the Sydney Airport slots review, extra flights offered by Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, security screening funding for regional airports and ACCC recommendations to provide better protections for customers in disputes with airlines.
Senator McKenzie said the cracks are starting to appear in the Government with Labor backbencher Daniel Mulino delivering a broadside to the Albanese Cabinet over aviation policy, saying the transport minister should not wait for the Aviation White Paper to make “low-hanging fruit” decisions to reform the aviation sector and open up “access to Sydney Airport slots”.
“If the Minister is deaf to the concerns of passengers she should at least listen to her backbench colleagues and start making decisions that may help reduce flight costs by enhancing competition and improving reliability.
“A good first step would be to re-establish the ACCC airline monitoring instigated by the former Coalition Government. This will enable the competition regulator to keep a close eye on prices and evaluate accusations of slot hoarding,” Senator McKenzie said.
Domestic Airline On Time Performance – June 2023
|Long Term Average|
(arrivals more than 15 minutes late)
Source: Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics, Domestic Airline on time Performance, May 2023 & June 2023.