The Demise of Australian Aviation

Bankstown Airport could be written down in history:

"It was an important airport, it was used by transport companies, pilot training companies, and supported associated industry, maintenance and sales. It was also an important destination for emergency use, with: Police, Air Ambulance, Royal Flying Doctor and Angel Flight conducting operations.

Like airports before it: Canberra Airport, Darwin Airport, Aero Pelican Airport, Warnervale airport, Goulburn Airport and others, under the terms of use established by the founding fathers, we all felt they would survive. But unfortunately ways have been devised by government and councils alike to wipe-ones-hands, and it seems that they have been able to arrange, or permitted the sale of public assets to the highest bidder. These sales were subject to limited or ineffective conditions that no-longer protect the intent of the "founding fathers" and permitted the deprivation of the original tenants, and in some cases the inaugural tenants of their assets and livelihood."

The loss of Bankstown airport, Camden airport, Warnervale Airport, Aero Pelican airport, Goulburn Airport, and the others closed before them, will see the demise of General Aviation in Sydney Basin, NSW and Australia in general.

There are no east-coast Secondary Airports left unscathed, for Queensland and Victorian airports are also under attack.

Coupled with the lock-up of all the regional airports, a hidden agenda has become visible, the (former) government and committees are forcing the closure of all General Aviation airports.

The flow-on effect with the loss of training and ancillary industry, such as maintenance and support, will cause even bigger consequences, consequences to the safety of aviation, which you can read as Regular Public Transport.

Australian citizens will lose as General Aviation looses the ability to train pilots and maintenance engineers, which means the only recourse possible will be immigration and outsourcing to foreign nationals. Those in the industry can already imagine what the consequences will be; the general public will sometime later ask "Why weren’t we told?"

Outback Australians will yet again be further deprived of services that we in the city take for granted, it will not just be the Aviation Industry that is deprived, it will also be the general public. The demise of Bankstown will see the further erosion of the already sparse health-care services available to remote communities. That was what part of air transport is about, servicing and transporting people and goods over remote distances.

One detects that perhaps the founders of BAL feel very confident that they and their family will have their feet firmly on the ground, never requiring to fly overseas, or in an air ambulance, or an RFDS aeroplane, or perhaps on an Angel Flight - for pretty soon these will all be history.

The erosion of airport infrastructure, its people, and its companies is a cancer, that once it starts will be difficult to stem. This cancer must be treated at its source - you guessed it, at the political level.

This land-grab and greed using legislation as a basis rings very much like the case in Canberra where the local government wanted to sell off the Simonston Caravan park to property developers, which would result in displacement of the many incumbent tenants who had no-where else to go. A petition was raised, and I signed it, as did the majority of other Canberrans - and the tenants won. So petitioning sometimes works, there is still hope, just as there is while one draws breath.

I too believe that Bankstown and Camden (and Hoxton Park) cases are where tenants have no-where else to go, and even the larger tenants cannot go to Melbourne because its Secondary Airports are also under threat.

Guys, if you do not win this petition - cut your losses and retire - I will park my aeroplane in a paddock and look back on flying fondly as one of those things I used to be able to do. I too will buy the history books that name those who contributed to the demise of aviation.

In our hearts we know which organizations are responsible - keep lobbying them.

Ralph Holland, Arising Technology Systems Pty Ltd Canberra: Private Pilot, and Angel Flight volunteer

See also Aviation Advertiser comment

referencing page

(C) Copyright, Ralph Holland, 2008 - permission granted to reproduce in Aero Club and Aviation Trade magazines.