Nov 1, 2010

CAPA Aeropark Joint Venture Launch

CAPA Aeropark Joint Venture Launch

Intercontinental Hotel, Sydney

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

Monday, 1 November 2010

It’s a pleasure to be here today to launch this aviation initiative between our two nations.

The Indian aviation industry is growing rapidly. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing in the world.

The Australian-India air market is increasing in lock step.

India is currently Australia’s 12th largest aviation market, a fact underpinned by Australia being one of the first countries to engage with India when it began liberalising aviation policy.

The Gillard Labor Government values the relationship between our two countries.

In aviation, our link stretches back almost 60 years to a treaty signed in 1949, just two years after India’s independence.

In 1949, it had also only been two years since Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier over the Californian desert.

Of course, it would be another 20 years until the Boeing 747 revolutionised commercial jet travel.

Since that time, we’ve seen the introduction and eventual decommissioning of the Concorde.

We’ve experienced oil crisis and global financial panic.

We’ve marked the age of the low cost airline and the democratisation of air travel.

Most importantly, we’ve seen the growing liberalisation of international markets, and the rising importance of aviation.

We are now better connected than we’ve ever been.

I mention this because the CAPA AeroPark—as an aviation centre for training and education for the Asia Pacific region—is about taking aviation to the next stage.

This joint venture will see the development of an integrated university and training campus dedicated to aviation in Bangalore, with campuses in Mumbai and New Delhi.

It will train the next generation of pilots, air traffic controllers, cabin crew and regulators for the region, delivering high quality technical and safety skills.

I am pleased that the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation’s AeroPark master plan was prepared here, in Sydney, and I’d like to congratulate the team on the hard work they’ve put into it.

Last year, the Australian Government released its Aviation White Paper – Flight Path to the Future.

It was this country’s first, and it talked strongly about the need for industry to plan for its own training needs. This is a good example of the aviation industry taking the initiative.

The Aviation White Paper set out the Australian Government’s intention to continue to take a liberal approach to international air services negotiations.

Australia has one of the most open and liberal aviation markets in the world.

And our airlines have benefited from international competition.

Last year, the Australian aviation industry defied the worst global economic downturn in more than three generations to post solid growth.

An unprecedented 26 million people flew domestically and nearly 52 million flew into and out of Australia.

I have no doubt that the Gillard Government’s Economic Stimulus Plan helped secure this growth by keeping more Australians in their jobs during the global financial crisis and giving them the confidence to take the annual family holiday or book their weekend getaway.

Globally the contrast could not be starker.

Over the past 18 months, passenger numbers fell by as much as 10 per cent and airlines collectively lost over $9 billion.

In fact, more than 50 airlines ceased to operate altogether.

I believe that the resilience of Australian aviation shows that we have got the balance right between opening up trade, tourism and competition while maintaining our national interest.

Of course, our success is underpinned by the excellent safety and security record of our highly trained aviation workforce.

The aviation industry relies on a well-trained workforce, and has, in recent times, suffered from acute skill shortages.

This new facility comes at an important time for the Asia Pacific region.

As the global aviation industry begins emerging from the financial crisis, the need for a well-trained workforce will become more pressing once again.

And I believe that Australia is well-placed to provide a range of aviation services throughout the region.

The CAPA AeroPark facility is an important regional initiative to support the industry’s future growth through collaboration.

I wish you all the best and look forward to being at the opening.