Comment: Australia’s Aviation White Paper: Still the Cinderella, with no new funding

  • December 17, 2009
  • Bruce Bromley

Consumer protection

The Government believes it is important to provide consumers with appropriate protections, without affecting the ability of airlines to set service levels in a competitive market, as deregulation has increased the variety of airline fares and services, especially with the growth of low-cost carriers. The Government is looking to airlines to develop corporate charters outlining how they will deal with complaints, and to establish an airline industry ombudsman to better manage complaints not resolved by airlines in the first instance.

The Australian Government has already made improvements to provide better compensation payments to air crash victims and their families, while also cutting red tape for industry through the implementation of the 1999 Montreal Convention. The Government will continue to improve carriers’ liability arrangements, as well as strengthen the mandatory insurance arrangements for damage caused by aircraft to third parties on the ground.

The Government will work with industry and disability advocacy organisations to identify and implement means through which access to air services for people with disabilities can be improved. A dedicated government, industry and consumer working group has been established to consider a range of issues affecting disability access to aviation services, such as airport terminal facilities, cabin safety matters, and travelling with mobility aids. Airlines and airports will be encouraged to develop and publish Disability Access Facilitation Plans.