Impact Publications : Aircargo_236
Page 16 • AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC • APRIL-MAY 2015 IASC rules on PNG route and adds capacity IN what has been a quiet year to date for route allocations, Australia’s International Air Services Commis- sion acted to deliver extra cargo ca- pacity between Australia and PNG, a route that once was a battlefield but now is calm and possibly under-ser- viced by Australian carriers. One of the determinations allo- cated an extra weekly service to Vir- gin Australia while the other gave a further extension to Skyforce/Pion- air Australia to pick up the capacity it was allocated to PNG and New Caledonia. Virgin Australia asked IASC to add a seventh possible frequency weekly between Brisbane and Port Moresby, allowing it to expand op- erations during peak periods. The B738 aircraft used on these services has belly-hold space as do competitor car- riers Air Niugini and Qantas. IASC said the register showed capacity was available and the supplementary flight would add a little extra competition. First of the Virgin supple- mentaries oper- ated on April 02. As we have outlined in several reports over the past few years, Skyforce/Pionair was on July 29 2013 allocated 18 tonnes of freight capacity weekly on the PNG route and on August 19 2013 was allocat- ed one all-cargo flight weekly with capacity of up to 28 tonnes on the Australia/France 3 (New Caledonia) route. At the time, both routes were very popular. The two interim determinations required Skyforce/Pionair to utilise capacity no later than December 31 2013, but the operator subsequently asked for a series of extensions. In allowing a further extension to July 31 “or such other date ap- proved by the Commission” IASC reported a representative of Pionair had met with commissioners in late February. “The airline provided con- fidential information and supporting documents, marked ‘not for public record’ to support its request. “The Commission is satisfied that the causes of the delay of commencement of utilisation of the cargo allocations are beyond Pionair’s control.” Other Australian carrier cargo allocation on the PNG route is currently held by Pacific Air Express and Qantas. The register shows that a further 42 tonnes’ capacity weekly in each direction is available. Pacific Air Express, which is based at Brisbane International Airport, on April 16 applied to IASC – in response to an invitation to get in early – for renewal of a 17.5 tonnes all-cargo capacity allocation which expires nearly a year hence on April 4 2016. While IASC has triggered the usual process of inviting other applications for the capacity, it is certain that Pacific Air Express will be successful in its bid for a five year extension. Choice joins calls for TPP transparency AUSTRALIAN consumer advocacy group Choice has renewed its call for the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement to be released following the latest leak, which details the threats to sover- eign law making. The leaked text of the TPP Investment Chapter, published by Wikileaks, details the threat posed to Australian law makers by an investor state dispute settlement arrange- ment (ISDS). “We have already seen the damage a flawed trade agreement can deliver to Aus- tralian taxpayers with Philip Morris suing the Australian Government over plain tobacco packaging,” said Alan Kirkland, chief execu- tive Choice. “Although we have only been able to hear about this through unofficial leaks, it is encouraging that the Australian negotiators haven’t yet conceded completely over inves- tor state dispute settlement. “We encourage the Australian government to hold firm and not expose Australia to fur- ther legal action from big tobacco over laws designed to reduce the cost of health care and protect the nation. “Although Australia seems to be resisting this Chapter as drafted, we need to know what the conditions are that would see us sign up to it,” said Kirkland. “Worryingly, the leaked text reveals there will be no caps on fines and damages that can be sought by a foreign investor when su- ing the Australian government under the TPP.” “Foreign investors will also be able to ‘leap- frog’ domestic legal options and go straight to a World Bank and United Nations Investor State Arbitration Tribunal.” “The make-up of these Tribunals makes a mockery of procedural fairness, with judges able to rotate between acting as adjudicators and acting as advocates for companies. This would never be allowed in Australian courts and raises major issues of bias and impartial- ity.” Choice is calling on consumers to lodge submissions with the federal government, requesting it to release the official text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.