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Federal Election 2022: Issues for the Aviation Sector

As the Australian federal election looms in May 2022, what are some of the issues the aviation industry need to keep an eye on?

Australians are heading to the polls on Saturday 21 May 2022. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese have both vigorously campaigned for the leadership, and our industry waits to see the result.

The past two years have been the toughest moments in the sector’s history. Airlines, airports and other players in the industry will therefore be watching the polls closely, as the party who gains control will have a fundamental role to play in the future of aviation.

Below, we’ll list a few of the important issues facing the sector in this election.

Post-pandemic recovery

As the industry was decimated over the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most pressing issues for aviation in the 2022 Federal Election is undoubtedly its short and long-term recovery.

The current government says it has committed over $5.3 billion to help aviation, releasing the Aviation Recovery Framework in 2021 to facilitate the industry’s post-pandemic recovery.

This plan deals with a range of issues, ranging from energising general aviation and optimising airport infrastructure to embracing innovative new tecnologies such as drones and connecting communities in regional areas.

Meanwhile, Labor has announced that its party under Albanese will deliver “a new aviation white paper to set the scene for the next generation of growth and development across the aviation sector”.

This white paper, according to Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Catherine King, will look at:

• achieving net zero carbon emissions

• economic reforms to address competition issues and skills shortage

• reforms to help the industry’s post-pandemic recovery

•  supporting Australian general aviation consultation mechanisms for issues like security, airport planning and aircraft noise

Climate change and energy

A Momentum Intelligence survey of 700 people working in the sector found that around half of aviation professionals are prioritising energy resources and climate change when heading to the polls to vote.

The survey found that this followed defence & national security and economic policies as priorities for the profession.

Sustainable aviation has been a critical issue for the industry for many years. There is indeed a prevalent belief that aviation’s future will depend on shifting to no-emission (or at least, low-emission) alternatives to traditional jet fuel.

This is evident by the recent milestones we’ve seen in the past few years, including Boeing’s announcement of a chief sustainability officer, the creation of the Airbus ZEROe and Qantas’ introduction of flights from London that will be fuelled partially by sustainable aviation fuel.

Aircraft noise

This issue itself may not be so much a concern for the industry, but it is something we should keep an eye on. In some areas across the country, residents are citing that aircraft noise is a vital federal election issue.

In Brisbane, residents under flight paths are claiming that they had 30 to 40 flights fly over the top of them in one day. They can sometimes get approximately 10 flights every 14 minutes.

“The amenity of our family home has just been destroyed,” said one resident. “I don’t enjoy coming home … I wake up at 6:00am, there’s 20 airplanes in quick succession taking off over Brisbane.”

In July 2020, when Brisbane Airport opened its 1.1 billion parallel runway, complaints about noise rose dramatically.

Candidates have spoken about the issue – a Greens candidate has spoken about introducing curfews, while Labor proposed setting up a community forum. The Liberals have also said they have committed to redrawing Brisbane’s flight paths.