Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss has ordered a review into the IT skills of staff across the aviation industry to determine what is needed to meet future air travel needs.
In a speech to the Safeskies Australia conference last week, Truss said he had tasked his department with studying the state of the aviation workforce in order to determine what, if any, gaps exist.
“It is through a skilled and well trained workforce and that workforce's effective use of technology, that we can ensure our Australian aviation industry can meet future growth in the international and domestic aviation market,” he said in the speech.
The review will cover IT skills across a number of occupations including airport operations and aviation security, air traffic controllers, pilots and cabin crew.
A spokesperson for Truss told iTnews some sections of the aviation workforce were ageing and nearing retirement, and concerns that high upfront training costs were acting as a barrier to entry have been raised.
"The Government recognises the need for the study to be wide ranging and include issues such as the impact of new technologies on skills requirements to ensure a clear picture emerges of the industry’s overall skills requirements," the spokesperson said.
Truss said growing international and domestic demand had meant delays at major capital city airports, while challenges were also being created from peak period fly-in fly-out operations in the resources sector.
Such issues demanded an “integrated” response from Government, airport and airline operators, Truss said.
He cited the development of the new national air traffic control system, which will be created when Airservices Australia and the Defence department merge their two individual systems, as the single most significant step forward for air traffic management in the country.
The project has been under consideration since mid 2010 and will replace two end of life systems. The merger aims to remove the limitations set by separately managed volumes of airspace and operating different systems.
“A harmonised civil and aviation air traffic system will not only provide greater operational efficiencies, but ensure seamless compatibility with other systems in Australia's regional neighbourhood,” he said.
“These harmonised systems will accommodate future air traffic in the region—which is expected to grow by more than 50 percent over the anticipated life of the new air traffic system platform.”
Truss did not give a deadline for the review but said it would provide an "evidence based and coordinated approach to training and workforce development to meet industry needs".