The "Mail Plane"
The Remote Air Services Subsidy (RASS) Scheme is part of the Australian Government's Regional Aviation Access Program (RAAP).
The 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. Due to the distances involved and with road access to many communities often cut for several months during the wet season, a regular air service offers the only reliable means of transport.
A RASS community is typically a cattle station or an Indigenous community with a population ranging from six people to approximately 200 people. The population of a typical RASS community may change during the mustering or wet season.
There are 10 geographic regions under the RASS Scheme, with air operators contracted by the Australian Government to provide a regular air transport service. The RASS scheme subsidises flights to 270 remote communities throughout Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, including 86 Indigenous communities.
Application process for communities
Communities wishing to apply for a regular air service under the RASS Scheme should read the RASS Guidelines and RASS Eligibility Criteria and complete a RASS Application Form.
- Having a demonstrated need for a weekly service
- Being sufficiently remote in terms of surface travel to a population centre or neighbouring community receiving a weekly transport service
- Having an aerodrome which meets the aviation safety standard applicable to the RASS flight, as determined by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Alternatively, completed applications can be sent to:
Regional Aviation Programs
Regional and Environment Branch
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
GPO Box 594
CANBERRA ACT 2601
RASS Air Operators
There are currently eight air operators delivering services across the 10 regions.
|RASS Region number||Region name||Air Operator|
|2||Kimberley, WA (freight only services)||Air Kimberley|
|3||Channel Country, SA / QLD (freight only services)||Chinta Air|
|4||Cape Barren Island, TAS||Airlines of Tasmania (Par Avion)|
|5||Cape York, QLD||Skytrans|
|6||Gulf Country, QLD||Northern Territory Air Services|
|7||NT- North of Tennant Creek (freight only services)||Katherine Aviation|
|7||NT—North of Tennant Creek||Chartair|
|8||NT—South of Tennant Creek||Chartair|
|8||NT—South of Tennant Creek (freight only services)||Northern Territory Air Services|
|9||WA—Tri-State Desert Country||Chartair|
|10||Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY Lands), SA||Chartair|
Air operators are contracted with the Australian Government for a fixed term and are selected in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.
The RASS subsidy is paid directly to the air operator. Air operators providing air services under the RASS Scheme are required to service specified RASS communities.
Australia Post has responsibility for the delivery of mail and may have separate contracts with RASS air operators for this purpose. All matters concerning the delivery of mail should be directed to Australia Post.