Government wants industry to identify aviation freight bottlenecks

By: Jason Whittaker


Transport operators are being asked to submit proposals into developing a national aviation policy to address airport bottlenecks. Minister for Transport

Transport operators are being asked to submit proposals into developing a national aviation policy to address airport bottlenecks.

Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese last week released an issues paper calling for industry and community input into how the Government can better integrate the freight task with improved road and rail links to and from airports.

The Government is also flagging the possibility of granting unlimited access for dedicated cargo services to all airports, and is seeking consultation on how such a policy can be implemented.

"There are seasonal constraints in the transport of air freight that is transferred in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft, particularly during high-peak passenger movements," the paper says.

The industry is also being asked to propose alternatives to curfews currently operating across a number of airports. The paper suggests tighter restrictions on noisy aircrafts as a trade-off of scrapping curfews.

"For quick and efficient movement of air freight, a network of airports suitable for overnight operation is essential," the paper says.

With the burgeoning freight task exposing a number of capacity constraints in the supply chain, the Government is also seeking advice on the current and future pressure points in relation to airport capacity and what can be done to address them.

The task before the Government will be to balance community concerns with industry needs, as any expanded, or newly built, airport will bring with it increased traffic and noise levels.

"A key challenge at major airports is to integrate planning for the development of the airport site with consideration of the impacts outside the airport," the paper says.

The Government intends on releasing another paper in the coming months with further opportunity for stakeholder input.

Following the consultation process, Albanese says the Government will release a detailed national aviation policy statement in mid-2009.

Opposition spokesman for transport Warren Truss has referred to the initiative as evidence of the Government’s inability to make decisions.

According to Truss, the previous government implemented a number of aviation reviews while in office which laid the groundwork for concrete action.

"This latest aviation inquiry is yet another example of Rudd Labor governing by review and avoiding what we pay them to do, which is to make decisions," Truss says.

"The sad truth is the Government and its very green new minister, Anthony Albanese, have no idea about transport policy and infrastructure."

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