Regional and Remote Aviation
Australians living in remote and isolated areas rely on a weekly air service for the carriage of passengers and goods, including medicines, fresh food and educational materials. Australia Post uses some of the same air operators to deliver mail under separate contracts.
The National Aviation Policy White Paper; Flight Path to the Future (the Aviation White Paper) outlined the Australian Government's decision to consolidate four remote aviation programs into one from 1 July 2010. The Government, through the Regional Aviation Access Program (RAAP), provides funding for remote airstrip upgrades and subsidies for essential weekly air services to remote communities.
The Aviation White Paper noted the consolidation of the four former programs will ensure support for remote air services and aerodromes is better coordinated and provides greater flexibility in allocating funding based on the greatest need.
Many of the 255 remote communities serviced under the RASS Scheme have no effective road access for several months each year during the wet season, making a regular air service the only reliable means of transport.
The Australian Government currently subsidises five air operators to service communities in Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. The air operators are selected through an open tender process and in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines.
Regional Aviation Access Program
The Consolidated Program Guidelines for the Regional Aviation Access Program are attached below:
- Consolidated Program Guidelines for the Regional Aviation Access Program
[DOC: 6134 KB] [PDF: 639 KB] 
The five funding components are:
Funding Component 1
Subsidises a regular weekly air transport service for the carriage of passengers and goods such as educational materials, medicines, fresh foods and other urgent supplies to communities in remote and isolated areas of Australia.
Funding Component 2
Provides assistance to upgrade aerodromes in remote and isolated communities to facilitate the delivery of essential goods and non-commercial air services including health care.
This program has closed.
Funding Component 3
The Remote Aviation Infrastructure Fund (RAIF) provides for airstrip upgrades at remote indigenous communities receiving a weekly flight under the Remote Air Services Subsidy (RASS) Scheme and where the airstrip is not at the required Regular Public Transport (RPT) aviation safety standard.
Funding Component 4
Provides identified remote Indigenous communities with annual inspections and related services to assist those communities to meet their aviation safety obligations.
Funding Component 5
Provides funding to improve the safety of airstrips in remote and isolated communities in Australia.
The new round of funding builds on the investment made over the last four years through the previous Remote Aerodrome Safety Program and is vital for the provision of access to essential air services such as the flying doctor.
Applications for the current funding round closed on 1 December 2011.
Applicants wishing to discuss the progress of their application can contact the Department on 1300 768 578 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Airservices Australia Enroute Charges Payment Scheme
The Airservices Australia Enroute Charges Payment Scheme provides a subsidy to air operators providing aeromedical services through a reimbursement of their Airservices Australia enroute air navigation charges.
The Scheme was introduced in January 2002 as a transitionary measure in the wake of the Ansett collapse to ensure former Ansett subsidiaries and other regional airlines continued to provide air services to regional Australia.
Dates for Lodgement of Final Claim
On 30 June 2012 The Scheme lapsed for all Air Operators claiming under the Regular Public Transport (RPT) and the RPT Light Aircraft Operation (LAO) components of the Scheme.
In line with previous communication, all invoices for RPT services should now be lodged with the Department to ensure appropriate consideration and processing of claim.
Please call 1300 768 578 if you wish to discuss.
Regional aviation refers to that part of the aviation industry that engages in scheduled commercial airline activity between regional areas or between regional areas and capital cities. Traditionally, regional aviation services have been identified as those airlines performing regular public transport services and whose fleets contain exclusively low capacity aircraft (38 seats or less or with a payload of 4,200 kilograms or less). However, Australia's regional airlines now commonly use larger aircraft. Some regional areas are also serviced by jet aircraft operated by major domestic airlines.
The Australian Constitution gives state and territory governments power over regional aviation as it is largely an issue of intra-state trade. Licensing of intra-state aviation services is administered respectively by:
- New South Wales Transport New South Wales
- Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads
- South Australian Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure
- Government of Western Australia Department of Transport
Intra-state air services in Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are deregulated.