Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Tuesday 7 December 1965, page 14


DISTRIBUTORS OPPOSE PROTECTION MOVE FOR A USTRALIAN AIRCRAFT

By our Aviation Correspondent.

The distributors in Australia of Beeehcraft, Cessna and Piper aircraft said yesterday that they would oppose a request for projection made last week by the Australian manufacturers of Yicta, Transavia, and Cropmaster aircraft.

The Australian manufacturers said last week they would seek a form of bounty on completed aircraft manufactured in Australia. They would also seek to have a limit placed on the import of light aircraft of 2,2501b empty weight.

The aircraft distributors said .veslcrday they had submitted to the Government that increased protection for local aircraft would seriously threaten the vital role played by imported

machines in the Australian aircraft industry and in the country's national development,

"To restrict imports or increase I he price lo Australian operators of more than 21 popular US aircraft, which constitute about 80 per cent of Australia's general aviation fleet, would retard the development of the general aviation industry." the distributors said.

"This would penalise

Australian distributor com

panies, who have been mainly responsible for the industry's development and

establishment."

Development

'restricted'

The distributors' statement pointed out that in

NSW alone Cessna aircraft last year spread about onethird of the tonnage of superphosphate applied.

Reech. Cessna and Piper distributors had an investment of £1.485,700 in 131 aircraft which they had purchased for distribution lo the general aviation market in Australia.

It was logical to expect the Victa Airtourer lo meet higher production costs and price increases because if its limited market potential and small volume production, the US aircraft distributors said.

Local manufacture lacked the financial resources for costly technical and research facilities, and because of low production volume it had a limited future in development and profits.

A paradox of the appeal lo protect what the BeechCessna-Piper distributorsclaim claim are "Australian distributor companies" is that two of them are not Australian.

Beech machines are sold and serviced by a HawkerSiddeley (British) subsidiary and Ihe Cessna distribution belongs to Rex Aviation — a company with heavy New

Zealand interests.

The Piper agency is a subsidiary of Ansett Transport Industries.

Agricultural operations

Part of the statement describes the Victa Airtourer as a small two-place machine designed primarily for sports flying and training. It overlooks the Aircruiser — a four-place machine in direct competition with some of the smaller US imports. The Aircruiser is in an advanced stage of development.

On the agricultural side of things, the Transavia Airtruk, an odd-looking twin-hoom machine, is now in pilot production, and the Cropmaster has a small market with agricultural operators here and in New

Zealand.

The application by Ihe Australian manufacturers said they wished the imports of some foreign aircraft to be restricted on a temporary basis only. Aircraft with retractable undercarriages were not included in the application.

The US light aircraft industry has not only Ihe

enormous private flying

market in tne US to sustain it. It also has a tremendous military market. Its unit cost, because of its production potential, can he substantially lower than that of most other manufacturers — especially those seeking to establish them

selves in such limited market conditions as exist in Australia.

The distributors are correct when they say that imported aircraft have contributed greatly to the development of Australia, but it might he they could play a greater part if Ihcv were assembled or even partially manufactured in Australia.

ABOVE: The Victa Airtourcr 115, and

BELOW: The Cessna 185c Skywagon.