SA RAPAC calls for GA grants program

The South Australia Regional Airspace and Procedures Advisory Committee (RAPAC) has recommended a special government grant program to help general aviation operators affected by COVID restrictions.

SA RAPAC (now known as AvSEF) made the call in a submission to the Senate AG Industry Inquiry released this week, saying government aid programs to the aviation industry have benefited companies. airlines but not to GA operators.

“Although Covid and the travel restrictions that accompany it have devastated the aviation industry at all levels, support from the federal government has focused almost exclusively on the airline / PTR sector,” the airline said. submission.

“The general aviation industry has not received the financial support that has been so generously provided to the airline industry, regardless of the financial viability of the airline prior to Covid 19.”

In the submission, RAPAC notes that several programs aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID have been put in place to ensure the survival of airlines, including:

  • Aeronautical services accreditation support program
  • Covering security costs at national airports
  • National capacity maintenance program
  • Tourism aviation network support program
  • Support for the domestic aviation network (DANS)
  • Australian Airlines Financial Assistance Package (AAFRP)
  • Financial aid for regional airlines (RAFA)
  • Airservices Australia fee waiver.

RAPAC SA also considers that the measures which apply to general aviation have been ineffective, in particular the exemptions from excise duties on fuel and from Airservices Australia.

“General aviation has been eligible for a fuel excise duty of 0.035 cents per liter under the aviation support program,” the submission notes. “This equates to 2.1 cents for every 60 liters burned – the average fuel consumption for a single-piston general aviation aircraft is 60 liters per hour.

“The time cost for staff to prove that the fuel was burned and to claim reimbursement far exceeds the amount received.

“The GA sector has been eligible for an air service fee waiver. The Air Service Fee Waiver and Fuel Excise Reimbursement require aircraft to fly and generate revenue before claims can be made. Over the past 18 months, GA operators have experienced significant declines in activity.

“As a result, general aviation operators have had to rely on other support packages for small businesses. These packages may well be sufficient for businesses such as cafes and stores. However, the unique nature of aviation meant that the support fell far short of what was needed. for general aviation operators.

The presentation also said that scenic flight operators in South Africa were reporting slowdowns of 70-80% and that scheduled routine maintenance should take place even if the aircraft was not in flight.

“The recognition that the aviation sector at all levels needs support is widespread,” says SA RAPAC. “Given the vast
amount of money distributed to the aviation industry, it is devastating how little has been disbursed or available for the general aviation industry. “

SA RAPAC recommended that the federal government “make available as soon as possible a subsidy scheme for affected agricultural enterprises (including maintenance organizations) similar to the scope of the exceptional circumstances scheme eligible for agricultural enterprises. affected by drought “.

The full submission is available on the Standing Senate Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transportation (RRAT) investigation website.

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