Virgin Australia has released its comprehensive response to the Australian Government’s Aviation Green Paper.
This strategic document not only outlines the airline’s commitment to sustainability but also proposes key policy and regulatory measures.
These measures are aimed at fostering competition as well as ensuring a sustainable aviation sector that benefits Australians for generations to come.
Charting a Course to Net Zero
Virgin Australia has submitted that it places a strong emphasis on the aviation industry’s role in achieving net-zero emissions.
A cornerstone of their recommendations involves prioritizing policy development and initiatives, such as the adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel Accounting, also known as ‘Book and Claim.’
This approach allows airlines and customers to access the environmental benefits of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) without being hindered by current geographical constraints.
Fostering Healthy Competition
To propel the aviation industry forward, Virgin Australia advocates for increased competition through robust regulatory oversight and the enforcement of measures against anti-competitive behavior.
The airline also calls for more equitable government procurement practices, aiming to level the playing field for all airlines, irrespective of their size.
Navigating Monopoly Airports: A Call for Fair Play
In a bid to establish an even playing field, Virgin Australia proposes the implementation of a fit-for-purpose framework for negotiations between monopoly airports and airlines of all sizes.
The crux of this proposal lies in the introduction of an enforceable ‘negotiate/arbitrate’ model, ensuring fair and transparent dealings.
Addressing Operational Challenges
Virgin Australia draws attention to challenges at Australia’s primary gateway airport, Sydney Airport, particularly focusing on the crosswind limit on the main parallel runway.
Addressing these operational hurdles is deemed crucial to enhancing airline reliability and ensuring a seamless travel experience for passengers.
Transparent Air Rights
The airline underscores the importance of transparency, consultation, and certainty in bilateral air rights agreements.
Recognizing the intricate link between international competition and domestic operations, Virgin Australia emphasizes the need for a clear framework that benefits both the airline industry and consumers.
A Holistic Approach: Beyond Regulation
Virgin Australia’s detailed submission extends beyond regulatory recommendations, delving into areas such as improving the customer experience and addressing concerns related to slot allocation and compliance.
Christian Bennett, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at Virgin Australia, expressed the airline’s commitment to enhancing regulatory and policy settings for a safe, sustainable, and competitive aviation industry.
Bennett emphasizes the importance of vibrant competition and the critical need to address market power imbalances to ensure Australians enjoy great value and choice in their travels.
Bennett also acknowledges the industry’s imperative to decarbonize and highlights the role of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in this transformation.
While recognizing the challenges of domestic production, he proposes a ‘Book and Claim’ system as a short-term solution to bridge the gap and bring the environmental benefits of SAF to the Australian aviation industry promptly.
The Qantas Group has similarly presented its responses to to the Australian aviation green paper earlier this week.
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