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General Aviation report by Infrastructure Department

This was released on 19th December 2017. A quick read shows an industry in serious trouble.

From #pprune:

22nd Dec 2017, 16:40   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 6,577

To understand the scale of the problem of GA -and why its stuffed, consider Australia’s GDP – an overall indicator of economic activity. in 2004 Australian GDP was approximately 613 US Billion. In 2016 is was 1.2 US trillion – approximately double.

I chose those dates because that’s what BITRE used for some of its comparisons.

By my simplistic, perhaps puerile, measure we could say that if the GA sector had doubled in size during the period 2004 – 2016, we could say that the sector is as healthy (or sick) as the rest of Australia’s economy.

BITRES analysis shows ^NO^ all change has occurred. Therefore one has to conclude that something has changed, and not for the better.

Ah Ha! You say. But most of that is inflation.

So lets look at GDP at constant prices…. 2004 – 300 A$ Billion. 2016 -420 A$ billion.

That’s 40% growth.

Do we see a GA sector 40% larger? 40% more jobs, pilots aircraft and businesses??????? Nope, not even close. Therefore something has changed for the worse.

What has changed for the worse? The weather? The technology?

The answer is that the cause is man made and the evidence (Forsyth review) points to poor regulation causing a general lack of trust of the regulator.

That translates in the capital asset pricing model to a higher risk premium on aviation investments compared to say, property, etc. so aviation investment suffers compared to investment in the rest of the economy.

The Department web site has not given the report for individual download yet, but can be viewed here.

 Aviation’s slow regional burn

A landmark study has confirmed the decline in the general aviation sector that plays a crucial role in serving regional communities.

A day after a cabinet reshuffle that sees Barnaby Joyce take on aviation, a long-awaited Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics report has found the sector has been decreasing since 2010.

But while private flying and flight training have faced “significant” decreases, this has been partly offset by growth in other areas including aerial mustering and search and rescue activity.

The report was announced last year by former Transport Minister Darren Chester.

It came after warnings that the sector had been hit by red tape and skyrocketing costs.

Businessman and aviation veteran Dick Smith has previously warned that the sector faces “destruction”.

Internationally, general aviation — which serves roles ranging from enabling regional families to fly to town to get their groceries rather than doing huge drives to flying training, firefighting, mustering, private flying and aerial surveying — has been in decline or static in nations including the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

“Like many other industry sectors, the demand for and supply of the services offered by GA has changed over the past few decades and will continue to do so with developments in aviation technology and the way in which our economy operates,” the report said.

It finds that “while overall GA activity is declining, it is not accurate to say that all sectors of GA are declining”.

“What is apparent is that for some aviators, operating a GA business is a way of funding their passion. Some aviators continue to operate the same way they have for decades, in aircraft that are decades old, and at airports with few GA operators remaining.”

Among the “challenges” confronting the sector are the cost of pilot and maintenance training, airport leases and charges and regulatory changes including multiple reviews of aviation safety rules by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

As well, the fleet is ageing, with the most popular group of small single engine aeroplanes used by the sector at an average age of 36.4 years.

“While they are very robust aircraft, many are beginning to develop age-related faults such as corrosion and metal fatigue, which are very expensive to repair,” the report says.

“Most still require leaded fuel (aviation gasoline or avgas), which is becoming increasingly harder to source and more expensive, with production likely to cease over the next decade.”

According to the report, people from the GA sector “ have clearly expressed concerns that aviation safety regulatory changes are having an unnecessary adverse impact on the GA sector”. Among these concerns were that a “one size fits all” approach meant changes were introduced for all aircraft that were not appropriate for the smaller planes used in general aviation.

The report finds that while the fees charged by CASA “were relatively small, the true cost was higher as additional wages and administration costs are required to achieve regulatory compliance in areas such as flight crew licencing, flying training and maintenance”.

According to the report, “key opportunities” include for CASA to review the hourly rates it charges, fleet renewal, measures to boost the training and retention of pilots and maintenance staff, and for CASA to look at harmonisation of rules.

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