The Australian Airports Association (AAA) has welcomed the allocation of Federal government funding to regional airports, but warned many communities would be left behind if the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Programme did not continue.

AAA Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said the final allocation of funds under the program would support projects at 31 regional airports, but left many more still waiting for support to fund essential maintenance and upgrades.

“We have long been campaigning to Protect Regional Airports, with many airports in regional and remote areas struggling to make ends meet,” Ms Wilkie said.

“The funding round announced today will deliver significant benefits to the 31 recipients and their communities, and shows the value of this important program.

“There remains an ongoing need for funding to keep our regional airports connected and thriving and the AAA urges the Federal Government to ensure the upcoming budget doesn’t leave them behind.”

The Protect Regional Airports campaign calls for dedicated funding in the 2018-19 budget to ensure regional airports can deliver critical aeronautical and infrastructure maintenance projects.

It recommends extending the funding for the existing Remote Airstrip Upgrades Programme for a further four years, at $15 million per year.

It also calls for the creation of a new Regional Airport Development Programme to allow other regional airports to apply for funding, resourced at $25 million per year for four years.

The campaign is supported by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA), Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).

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