Australia's AOPA Blasts Privatization Policy

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The Australian government's policy to hand over airport control to private operators is bad for the nation's aviation system, the Australian Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) said in a news release this week. "AOPA does not believe these operators have the interests of aviation or the local community at heart and see the airport simply as land to be developed," the statement says. "Airports are affected across Australia ... all Australian airports are potentially at risk; property developers see only dollars, not national assets." The federal Transport Department failed to properly investigate the issues involved with privatization, the group says. AOPA wants federal Transport Minister Warren Truss to intervene and set rules for rent increases, land reuse and runway closures. "This needs fixing now or Australia will be denied the benefits of a thriving aviation sector," AOPA said.