Gryllis welcomes inquiry into regional aviaton

ORANGE is fortunate to be cushioned from many of the impacts of regional airline failures, according to Orange City Council aerodrome committee chair, councillor Chris Gryllis.

However, he has welcomed an inquiry into regional aviation services, which will examine the reliability and provision of airline services to regional centres.

“The issues like some centres have had with Brindabella as a sole airline just don’t exist in Orange, because we have Rex,” he said.

Among the terms of reference for the inquiry, announced by the Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on State Development, is the  cost of access to airports in both Sydney and regional NSW.

“If there is going to be any sort of a cap on landing fees, I think there should be some kind of government assistance,” Cr Gryllis said.

He will raise the issue at a council meeting to see if council wants to put forward a submission to the inquiry.

“It is early days yet and we do have until next March, but it will certainly be raised,” he said.

State Development Committee chair Rick Colless  said too many towns had lost their air services and the economic impact on those communities had been unacceptable.

“The model we are working on at the moment is failing and if we continue to apply the same model then things are going to continue to get tougher for regional airlines,” he said.

Cr Gryllis said Orange was already on the front foot with one of the terms of reference looking at opportunities for regional aviation manufacturing and servicing.

“We are working on getting industries in Orange which are association with the aviation industry,” he said.

The Standing Committee will undertake hearings and site visits in regional areas and report its findings in October 2014.

For more information regarding the inquiry and terms of reference, visit  www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/statedevelopment.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Safety authority grounds Brindabella planes

AVIATION authorities have grounded the fleet of Brindabella Airlines planes after discovering the airline did not follow correct maintenance procedures. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) grounded four of Brindabella’s Jetstream aircraft in November and on Thursday ordered the company's remaining six planes be pulled from service so they could be assessed.

Brindabella, which recently suspended its Orange to Sydney route, last month reported to CASA several planes had been “over run” for about a year, meaning they had not been checked or had parts replaced in accordance with strict schedules set by manufacturers.

Two of the aircraft initially taken for maintenance review have since been assessed by CASA and cleared to fly.

After the first series of inspections, CASA took a closer look at the fleet.

A review of all maintenance during the past year will now be conducted by Brindabella, which must then demonstrate to CASA that its planes have been serviced according to schedule before being allowed in the air again.

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