Security Rules May Ground Aussie Air-Tour Operators

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If you've visited those exhibits for Australian air safaris at Oshkosh or Sun 'n Fun in recent years and thought that would sure be fun to try some day, your chances of ever having that opportunity are about to grow slimmer. Tour operator GOANA announced last week that they will be shutting down at the end of this year, after 12 years of operation, thanks to new security rules that have made it impossible for them to continue. "It comes as a bitter pill to be forced out of business by legislation," said business owner Mal Shipton. The "Enhanced Aviation Security Package" that was adopted by the Australian government in March will have a negative impact on the very people it is supposed to be protecting, he said. The new rules would require so many more fees and approvals, for which there are often months-long backlogs, that "the new arrangements cannot be managed in a manner consistent with the ability to do business," Shipton said. He's making an effort, though, to turn the tide. "If you would like to express your disappointment, angst, or comment on just what a dumb idea these security measures are," Shipton suggests, send e-mail to the Hon Warren Truss, minister for Transport and Regional Affairs, at the Australian Parliament House W.Truss.MP@aph.gov.au, and cc to GOANA enquiries@goana.com.au. "If we had a big response, I feel it may cause the whole security question to be revisited," says Shipton, with true Aussie optimism. For our U.S. readers ... a glimpse into the ground-bound future, perhaps, if we allow "security" to trump freedom.