Impact Publications : Aircargo_241
AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC • FEB-MARCH 2016 • Page 3 New names a boost for industry’s standing... Chester’s promotion to Transport minister is a standout choice as govt reshuffle favours industry PRIME minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to promote Darren Chester, the member for Gippsland, to the role of Transport minister is good news for Australia. Former minister Warren Truss was widely acclaimed for his handling of the portfolio and Chester, 18 years younger than Truss, already has good political connec- tions both within the National Party and the government generally. The Chester ap- pointment is important for another more symbolic but signif- icant development: Chester is responsible for transport as well as infrastructure, both inter-related in many respects. The overall portfolio grouping also covers senator Fiona Nash (who also becomes deputy to Joyce in the Nationals lead- ership) as minister for Regional Devel- opment and Paul Fletcher as minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government. Both Nash and Fletcher are likely to have a stake in transport at times and will be expected to work as a team. Strong background Prior to entering parliament in 2008, Chester worked as a newspaper and TV journalist before becoming chief of staff for Peter Ryan, leader of the Nationals in Victoria. He also served two terms as president of the Lakes Entrance Business Tourism Association, earning a reputation for prowess in tourism marketing and event organisation. The Nationals have held Gippsland continuously since its crea- tion in 1922 and Chester is expected to continue as mp for the division because of his good standing with locals and his obvious enthusiasm for the region. He is not new to Transport: One of his roles in opposition was parliamen- tary secretary for Roads and Regional Transport. At the formation of the Abbott-Truss government in 2013 he was parliamentary sec- retary to the minister for Defence. The reshuffle Turnbull was under pressure to refresh his executive line-up, especial- ly within the inner cabinet. Turnbull had lost traction on several fronts - and talk of an early election was adding to instability. The sacking of Jamie Briggs in December and the long-anticipated retire- ment of Truss prompted the timing of the revamp. Then everything seemed to happen at once. Truss’s announcement coincid- ed with the unexpected retirement of Andrew Robb, then Stuart Robert was sacked for a breach of ministerial stand- ards and Mal Brough stood down ahead of a police enquiry because it was going to “drag on for longer than expected”. Chester was one of the big winners in the reshuffle with Nash and Steve Ciobo, who becomes Trade minister and who will likely have a substantial impact on export air cargo, as did Robb. In Truss’s ministerial resignation speech to parliament – he is staying on as a backbencher until the election – he reminisced that his stint as Trade minis- ter was his least fulfilling portfolio. “I stand in awe of what Andrew Robb has achieved in his time as Trade min- ister. It is truly a remarkable time in our history,” he said. Truss went on to muse that “when you leave, there is a lot of unfinished business. That is certainly true when you have a A$50 billion infrastructure pro- gram. I would particularly love to have been here for the landing of the first aircraft at Badgerys Creek airport. “But that would be 2025. I hope I am still alive to see that (first plane land). It is a project I have been very excited about and delighted to have been a part of bringing to fruition.” For his part, Robb picked up a raft of accolades as he stepped down, though he will retain special trade envoy status until the election to allow further work on FTAs and other trade agreements. Darren Chester Amazon confirms move into air freight with ATSG and 20 767s IN a backflip that many in the industry had anticipated, on line retailer Amazon is going into the air freight business with 20 leased cargo planes. “At our scale, supporting growth re- quires adding some of our own logistics capabilities,” said spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman. Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) of Wilmington, Ohio, will operate the 20 Boeing 767 freighter aircraft for Ama- zon Fulfillment. The Ohio company will also be re- sponsible for gate and logistics services. Amazon reportedly also has been granted the right to acquire up to 19.9 per cent of ATSG’s common shares over the next five years.