Signing up for Cheaper Arcraft

Release date: 12/10/2012

Joining the Cape Town Convention means a good deal for local airlines. Australian airlines are set to benefit from a move by the federal government to sign the Cape Town Convention covering the international movement of aircraft.

Steve Creedy, The Australian, page 36, 12 October 2012

The 2001 treaty helps facilitate aircraft financing by providing creditors with an internationally recognised set of rights in the event of a debt default or insolvency and sets up an international register for creditors.

The government has been looking at the convention for several years, and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese will announce the decision to sign at the Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) convention in Queensland today.

The government estimates the decision will save airlines about $2.5 million on the cost of an Airbus A380 and about $330,000 on a new ATR72 turboprop aircraft.

It says discount financing will also be available for purchase of second-hand aircraft in a move that will help smaller regional airlines upgrade and maintain fleets.

A recent study by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority found the average age of the nation’s general aviation fleet to be 40 years, but the average age of bigger, high capacity public transport planes was less than 20 years.

Mr Albanese will tell regional aviation operators that changes in 2011 to the Aircraft Sector Understanding on Export Credits for Civil Aircraft means financing discounts now apply to a wider rang of aircraft, including previously excluded turboprops.

He will argue the combined changes will help renew the Australian aircraft fleet and replace older aircraft with newer, more fuel-efficient models.

The government intends to introduce the treaty to parliament later this month and hopes to bring it into domestic law by 2014.

Mr Albanese will also announce today that Dubbo Airport in NSW will receive $320,000 to boost security.

The money will fund the improved passenger screening needed as bigger planes start using the airport. A July 1 change requires regional airports servicing aircraft with a maximum take-off weight from 20,000kg to upgrade security.

The often unpopular security requirements and the impact on regional carriers of fly-in, fly-out operations are among a range of issues being discussed at the RAAA convention.

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