Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Tuesday 20 August 1968, page 8


Tariff Board to rule on future

of aircraft

By FRANK CRANSTON, our Aviation Correspondent

The continued success of a little-publicised Australian venture into aircraft manufacture may depend on a decision expected to be announced soon by the Tariff Board. Transavia Corporation Pty Ltd, the only wholly Australian-owned aircraft manufacturer, produces the Airtruk agricultural aeroplane. The company has applied for a bounty on each' new aircraft up to 85 madiines to enable it # to compete with American imports.

Thirteen Airtruks have been sold in New Zealand but only three in Australia. In New Zealand it has dropped 1,000 tons of super-phosphate in 58 hours - thought to be a world

record.

One every

18 days

Transavia Is producing one Airtruk every 18 days and is now about to fly the 19th of 28 on the production line. It says it has enough export inquiries to ensure sales for the current production run but then it will have to sell more to the local market.

The company has asked for the bounty in order to bring the price of the Air

truk back to the level of some of its US competi

tors.

It says it did not seek a protective duty against the imports bccause to raise the price of all aircraft could have mitigated against the agricultural aviation industry.

With more than $750,000 of its. own money sunk into

plant and material, Transavia is seeking about $300,000 in bounties which would be spread over about five years. For the first 10 aircraft it seeks 36.8 . per cent of the cost, 18.9 per cent oh the next 25 aircraft and 2.5 per cent on (ho next 50.

The Airtruk has attracted . considerable interest among agricultural aviation operators in Australia. Hiey have been particularly impressed by the aircraft's performance in New Zealand which is generally acknowledged as a world leader in the field.;

The _ aviation operators who might like to buy and thus assure the success of the venture have told Transavia they cannot take the risk of the company not being able to carry on into volume production.

A favourable Tariff Board view of Transavia's application for a bounty would placc it in a strong competitive. position against imports from 6uch hugevolume US manufacturers as Cessna and Piper who

currently capture the major

share of the Australian market.

A bounty would also enable the Australian manufacturer to assure continuity of production and service to would-be Australian purchasers.

Transavia's submission went to the Tariff Board in October last year and the decision is expected soon.

The Airlruk is an unconventional aircraft once described as a "flying hopper". It has twin, separate tail booms and tail units and can lift much more than its own weight in payload.