Strategic Aviation Forum inaugural meeting
27 May 2013
The Department of Defence, Qantas Group and Virgin Australia have discussed a range of issues including alternative fuels and national capacity in aviation skills during the inaugural Strategic Aviation Forum in Canberra.
The forum brought together Defence and Australia’s two largest civil aviation operators. The forum focused on future national aviation developments, in particular emerging technologies, and crisis planning and security.
“Today’s forum was an important opportunity for high-level discussion on many areas in which Defence and the airlines can work together in the national interest,” the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, said.
“We agreed to explore the establishment of an alternative fuels information exchange program. Defence and the airlines operate some common aircraft such as the A330 and B737.
“We will consider collaborating on initiatives that will help to accelerate the development and commercialisation of renewable fuels. This will include technical support, for example the possibility of a flight trial involving a Defence aircraft, drawing on specialist data and knowledge from both the military and civil aviation industry.”
Qantas Group and Virgin Australia welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Strategic Aviation Forum.
Qantas Group’s Executive Manager Government and International Relations, Tony Wheelens, said the forum resolved to work more cooperatively in enhancing national capacity in aviation skills.
“Additionally, we’re looking at ways that we can enhance opportunities for the many ADF Reservists employed by Qantas and Virgin Australia,” Mr Wheelens said.
Virgin Australia Group Executive Government Relations, Jane McKeon, said the forum focused on contingency planning and coordination.
“For example, a major natural disaster in Australia may require a national response involving both the Australian Defence Force and civil aviation,” Ms McKeon said.
“We are working through the procedures that are currently in place to mobilise resources if required, and how we could further improve on current standing arrangements.”
The strategic aviation dialogue is separate to any commercial arrangements.
An image from the inaugural meeting of the Strategic Aviation Forum can be found at the following link: http://images.defence.gov.au/20130524adf8588365_003.jpg
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