Oct 3, 2008

Australia’s Aviation Industry Continues its Strong Growth

Australia’s Aviation Industry Continues its Strong Growth

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

October 3 2008

For the fifth year in a row, the aviation sector has grown at a faster pace than the overall Australian economy – a result that underscores its continuing strength.

Last year (2007) the aviation sector expanded by 4.9 per cent to $6.31 billion – equivalent to 0.62 per cent of Australia’s GDP. This compares to a 4.2 per cent growth rate for the overall economy.

In fact, over the past decade (1997-2007) the aviation sector has grown by more than 66 per cent, while over the same period Australia’s national income went up by 42 per cent.

This is the key finding contained in the latest edition of Avline, a bi-annual publication which reports on the health of the Australian aviation sector.

Going forward the Rudd Labor Government is determined to be proactive in its support for this critical industry. That is why we are developing the nation’s first ever aviation White Paper to promote and guide the industry’s growth over the next decade and beyond.

If Australia is to continue reaping the economic benefits of aviation, we need to start planning now.

The purpose of the White Paper will be to assist the industry overcome its immediate challenges, such as a lack of pilots and engineers, as well as provide new growth opportunities, including the pursuit of a more liberal international aviation market.

For example, we have commenced negotiations on an Australia-European Union (EU) ‘open skies’ agreement – an outcome that could remove many – if not all – of the existing regulatory limitations on Australian and European airlines operating between our two continents.

The EU is already Australia’s largest aviation market. In 2007, 4.6 million passengers travelled between Australia and the EU – an average of 43,780 passengers each way per week.

The latest edition of Avline can be downloaded from: www.bitre.gov.au

KEY FINDINGS

RECORD NUMBER OF AIR TRAVELLERS

  • The number of passengers flying into and out of Australia reached a new industry record of 23 million (up 6.4 per cent on 2006), driven mainly by a greater number of Australian residents travelling overseas.
  • Australia’s domestic airlines continued to operate at high levels, carrying a record 46.7 million passengers (up 7 per cent) on 532,849 flights (up 1.2 per cent). Passenger numbers on regional airlines grew faster than the numbers flying with the majors.
  • The number of passengers using all five major Australian airports (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) recorded an increase in passenger movements across all sectors in 2007.
  • Perth Airport had the highest annual growth in international (16.6 per cent), domestic (11.8 per cent) and regional passengers (20.7 per cent).

RECORD AIR FREIGHT:

  • International air freight continued to grow, up 2 per cent to 761,687 tonnes.

ON-TIME PERFORMANCE DOWN; CANCELLATIONS UP:

  • On average, 83.7 per cent of domestic flights left ‘on time’ (down 3.6 percentage points on 2006) and 82.2 per cent arrived ‘on time’ (down 3.9 percentage points on 2006).
  • Flight cancellation rose from 0.9 (2006) to 1.2 per cent of all scheduled flights.

FUEL PRICES & AIRPORT CHARGES:

  • Aviation jet fuel costs rose sharply towards the end of 2007, reaching a new peak in November before dropping back slightly in December.
  • Charges at most airports remained relatively stable during 2007 with the exception of international and regional charges at Brisbane. Both these charges increased during the first half of the year.