Regional and Remote Aviation

The Australian Government provides assistance to the owners of regional airports across Australia to undertake essential works, promoting aviation safety and access for communities through the Regional Airports Program.

The Australian Government also provides targeted support for aerodrome infrastructure and air services to remote areas of Australia, where they are not commercially viable, through the Regional Aviation Access Programme (RAAP).

In addition, the Airservices Australia Enroute Charges Payment Scheme supports air operators providing commercial passenger and aeromedical services to regional and remote locations by providing assistance based on the reimbursement of enroute air navigation charges levied by Airservices Australia.

Regional Airports Program

In the 2019-20 Budget, the Australian Government committed $100 million over four years to 2022-23 to the Regional Airports Program, a competitive grants program intended to:

  • improve the safety of aircraft, operators and passengers using regional airports or aerodromes
  • facilitate improved delivery of essential goods and services such as food supplies, health care and passenger air services
  • improve the connectivity of Australia’s regions to domestic and global market opportunities
  • meet the operational requirements of aeromedical and other emergency services in the region.

Regional Airports Program—Round 2

Round two of the Regional Airports Program is open for applications from 3 November until 15 December 2020, with $58.8 million in funding available. Applications for projects that enhance the safety and accessibility of aerodromes in regional areas of Australia can be submitted.

Program guidelines and further information is available at www.business.gov.au/RAP. For enquiries, please call 13 28 46.

Regional Airports Program—Round 1

On 13 June 2020, the Deputy Prime Minister announced $41.2 million in Australian Government funding for 61 projects across regional Australia.

Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program

The Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program is a competitive grants program and provides funding for upgrades to remote airstrips. This funding continues the Australian Government's commitment to improving the safety of remote air transport and the access of residents to essential goods and services, including urgent medical care.

Remote Airstrip Upgrade (RAU) Program—Round 8

Round eight is now closed. Applications submitted for projects that enhance the safety and accessibility of aerodromes in remote and very remote areas of Australia are under assessment.

For enquiries, please call 13 28 46.

Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program—Round 7

On 6 May 2020, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister jointly announced $9.0 million in Australian Government funding for 45 projects.

Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program—Round 6

On 22 March 2019, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport announced $10.0 million in Australian Government funding for 34 projects.

Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program—Round 5

On 23 March 2018, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport announced $7.0 million in Australian Government funding for 31 projects.

Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program—Round 4

On 10 February 2017, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport announced $11.8 million in Australian Government funding for 91 projects.

Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program—Round 3

On 10 December 2015, the Deputy Prime Minister announced $11.6 million in Australian Government funding for 52 projects.

The Airservices Australia Enroute Charges Payment Scheme

The Airservices Australia Enroute Charges Payment Scheme continues to provide a subsidy to air operators providing aeromedical services to regional and remote locations through a reimbursement of enroute air navigation charges levied by Airservices Australia.

From 15 September 2014, airlines operating commercial passenger services to regional and remote locations can also apply for assistance under the Scheme. Applications can be lodged at any time.

A list of the airlines and the eligible routes assessed as eligible can be found below.

Please call 1300 768 578 if you wish to discuss.

Regional Aviation Access Programme

The Regional Aviation Access Programme provides funding assistance for access and safety upgrades to remote aerodromes as well as subsidised flights to ensure residents of remote communities have access to regional service centres.

Funding is allocated across the following Funding Components of RAAP:

  • the Remote Air Services Subsidy (RASS) Scheme;
  • the Remote Airstrip Upgrade (RAU) Programme; and
  • the Remote Aerodrome Inspection (RAI) Programme.

The Consolidated Programme Guidelines for the Regional Aviation Access Programme are attached below:

  • Consolidated Programme Guidelines for the Regional Aviation Access Programme 
    PDF: 565 KB ReadSpeaker

Remote Air Services Subsidy (RASS) Scheme

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.

Remote Aerodrome Inspection (RAI) Programme

Provides identified remote Indigenous communities with annual inspections and related services to assist those communities to meet their aviation safety obligations.

Regional Aviation

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:

Intra-state air services in Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are deregulated.