The Australian Airports Association has welcomed comments from Infrastructure Australia, saying Australia’s airport privatisation model is a well-designed regulatory structure for infrastructure development, according to the 2012 COAG report released today.

AAA Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said that since the airport privatisation process occurred in the late 1990s, Australian airports have seen unprecedented levels of infrastructure development.

“We appreciate Infrastructure Australia’s recognition that the airport privatisation model has been a success, along with its light?handed regulatory system, which was reviewed and approved last year by the Productivity Commission, enabling airport shareholders to invest with confidence,” Wilkie said.

“Following privatisation we have seen a record $10 billion invested in infrastructure development at our major airports, and we know that another $9 billion is planned over the decade, in runways, terminal expansions, road and ground transport infrastructure and passenger facilities.

“This massive investment has secured Australia’s capacity for growth in air travel, while also creating jobs and delivering billions of dollars to our nation’s economy.

“None of this would have been possible without the privatisation of airports.

A recent economic study completed by Deloitte Access Economics showed that the airport industry directly contributes $17.3 billion and over 115,000 jobs to the Australian economy each year.

Catalytic economic flow?on impacts from the airport industry, such as in the tourism industry, were not included in the study, but are said to contribute a further 400,000 jobs and $34.6 billion to the economy each year in addition to that which is contributed by the airport industry.

In total, airports and tourism combined contribute 515,000 jobs and $51.9 billion to the Australian economy.

Caroline Wilkie said the research demonstrated airports are an integral part of national economic infrastructure and are critical to connecting communities and enhancing broader economic performance.

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