The Department regulates issues of ownership and control at the leased federal airports through restrictions provided under the Airports Act 1996 (the Act) and the associated regulations. The aims of these restrictions are to:
- ensure majority Australian ownership of airports;
- place limits on the ownership of airports by airlines;
- ensure diversity of ownership and control of certain major airports; and
- promote efficient and economic development and operation of airports.
There are major restrictions on ownership at leased federal airports:
1. Foreign ownership
Under s40 of the Act there is a 49% limit on foreign ownership of airport-operator companies. This occurs where a group of (or single) foreign persons hold in total a stake (including the interests of the person's associates) in the company of more than 49%.
2. Airline ownership
Under s44 of the Act there is a 5% limit on airline ownership of airport-operator companies. This occurs where an airline holds in total a stake (including the interests of the person's associates) in the company of more than 5%.
Under s50 of the Act there is a 15% limit on cross-ownership between paired airport operator companies (Sydney and Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne). This occurs when a person holds a total stake (including the interests of the person's associates) in both of the paired airport operator companies of more than 15%.
Certain foreign investment is also subject to the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board.
Airport Lessee Companies and Airport Management Companies are required to submit an annual return to the Department which contains information as outlined in the Airports Regulations 1997. The due date for the return is 30 business days after the anniversary of the date the company became the Airport Lessee Company or Airport Management Company.
A guide to the information required in the return is available for download PDF: 197 KB
Returns can be submitted via the Ownership portal. Enquiries including for access to the portal can be submitted via email to Airport.Ownership@infrastructure.gov.au.
Subject to certain eligibility criteria, fund managers or trustees investing in the airport-operator company can apply to the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development for:
- a distanced investment fund declaration which relates to the calculating of airline ownership; and/or
- a “substantially Australian” fund declaration which relates to the calculating of foreign ownership of Airport Lessee Company's
For more information, refer to Airports Act 1996: Ownership Rules with Regard to Investment Funds