On 10 April 2008 the Australian Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Anthony Albanese, announced that the new Australian Government is developing a National Aviation Policy Statement.
An Issues Paper that was released provides a comprehensive list of the key issues facing aviation in Australia. Many of these issues are common to other countries.
Of note for those interested in Australia's approach to international air services negotiations is the following statement about exchanging fifth freedom rights:
"While access between Australia and our bilateral partners has been able to be increased in many cases, this is not always possible when seeking to fly beyond a second, partner country to other markets. Due to our geographical position, these rights are essential for Australian airlines to fly beyond hubs in Asia and the Middle East to key markets in Europe and North America. In these circumstances, and to enable the establishment of new Australian airlines on the Australia-US route, Australia has not traded access for foreign airlines beyond Australia to the US in recent years. However, the Australian Government may seek to trade such access in the future, if it is judged to be in the national interest to do so."
Also raised is the question about whether Australia should be prepared to exchange seventh freedom rights.
Submissions are due by Friday, 27 June 2008.
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