27 April 2010
Key priorities of the strategy are to expand the territory’s capital Darwin as an international aviation hub, attract a full-service airline to the airport and to develop regular international services to Alice Springs and Yulara.
Ms McCarthy said aviation was a key priority for the Northern Territory and that the state government had worked hard with key partners for some time to develop the comprehensive five-year strategy.
The announcement comes as low-cost carrier Jetstar Airways continues developing an international aviation hub in Darwin, expanding capacity and new routes from the territory capital.
"Aviation Futures 2015 is the blueprint to increase and sustain air services to the Northern Territory...this strategy also aligns with the Territory Government’s Territory 2030 plan which has clear targets including a 50 percent increase in passenger traffic to Darwin by 2014, and a 20 percent increase to Alice Springs," she said.
Darwin is benefiting from the growing emergence of low cost airlines across Australia and Asia due to its strategically important geographical position in Australia’s north.
There are many opportunities for growth for the narrow-body, short-haul aircraft that operate these flights into Asia, however expansion of airport infrastructure is needed if Darwin is to capitalise on them.
Ms McCarthy also acknowledged the commercial realities of the global airline industry.
"The industry is volatile and operates in a highly competitive and commercial environment: airlines only operate if routes are profitable," she said.
Overall seat capacity and passenger traffic to the Northern Territory has increased substantially over the past five years and is expected to continue to grow over the longer term.
Australian Government projections suggest the volume of air traffic into and across Australia will double over the next twenty years and be greater than the country’s economic growth rate.