Federal Transport Minister and Riverina MP Michael McCormack has ruled out changes to Sydney Airport that some feared would impact Wagga.
Opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese claimed that a deregulation proposal from the Tourism and Transport Forum could cost Wagga its same-day flights.
On Wednesday, Mr McCormack rejected the call to overturn legislated regional protections.
“Any move to remove Wagga’s regional landing and take-off slots at Sydney Airport or compromise the current quality and standards for the regions – or undo long-fought protections which serve not just the Riverina and Wagga Wagga but other regional communities – would be vehemently opposed by me,” he said.
“Indeed any such attempts to remove similar protections for regional air services and the regional communities they serve would also be opposed by The Nationals.
“The Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese also rejected the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia’s proposal to deregulate the activity at Sydney Airport, which would mean regional cities such as Wagga Wagga were unable to have that access during peak periods into and out of Sydney.”
Virgin Australia said it would support changing Sydney regulations to allow more regional flights “as this would provide us with more scope to look at further opportunities to expand our regional network in NSW”.
Sydney’s take off and landing management scheme allows for regional slots to be converted to interstate and international services, but not the other way around.
Some airlines and the Tourism and Transport Forum have argued that this regulation prevents current and potential future carriers from offering new flights to regional NSW.