Five-year study study on airport pavements launched

Flag of Australia.svg

Australian Airports Association chief executive Caroline Wilkie and University of Sunshine Coast researcher Greg White. (University of Sunshine Coast)

Researchers from the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) will investigate the latest technologies and practices to make runway surfaces and airport pavements last longer as part of a new five-year, $2.85 million study.

The research program is a partnership between USC and the Australian Airports Association (AAA), the Department of Defence, Perth Airport and Sunshine Coast Council (as the owner of Sunshine Coast Airport).

USC researcher Doctor Greg White, who will be the director of the program, said the study was timely given the planned construction of new runways at a number of airports around the country, including at Sunshine Coast Airport.

“It’s a great time to undertake this research and support its implementation at a number of major airport developments,” Dr White said in a statement.

“This is the first nationally-funded, coordinated research program into airport pavements since Australia’s major airports were privatised in the 1990s, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for USC to innovate in collaboration with industry and Defence.”

Brisbane Airport’s new parallel runway is currently under construction, while Melbourne Tullamarine, Perth and Sunshine Coast are all planning to build new runways in the years ahead.

Also, the proposed new airport at Badgerys Creek in Sydney’s west is forecast to open in the mid-2020s.

USC said the research program would include Master’s and PhD students, as well as postdoctoral researchers, and feature on-the-ground trials at Perth and Sunshine Coast airports.

The university said the study would look at performance-based specification of runway surfaces, advanced test methods for bitumen and asphalt materials, non-destructive testing for runway strength rating, surface preservation material evaluation, and methods for comparing the costs and benefits of concrete and asphalt runways.

Dr White said there had been “little coordinated advancement in runway construction and maintenance in recent decades, despite innovations in design, materials and technologies and immense changes in aircraft”.

The research program was launched on Tuesday by USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco and Australian Airports Association chief executive Caroline Wilkie.

 

Source  :  Australian Aviation

Regional Express expects bumper profits for 2017/18

Flag of Australia.svg

A Regional Express (Rex) Saab 340 aircraft.

Regional Express (Rex) says an improving Australian economy and more activity in the fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) sector will underpin a 20 per cent improvement in full year profit in 2017/18.

Deputy chairman John Sharp told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Sydney on Tuesday the recovery in the market towards the end of 2016/17 had continued into the current year.

Further, Rex’s passenger numbers for the first four months of 2017/18 was up four per cent compared with the prior corresponding period.

“The performance of the first trimester of this financial year appears to confirm the recovery trend noticed in the prior financial year,” Sharp said in prepared remarks.

“We also expect a firm increase in FIFO activities for Pel-Air in addition to new contracts confirmed at the tail end of the prior financial year.

“Overall we are confident that Rex Group will continue to perform stronger if the Australian economy continues on its modest recovery.”

Rex said in a slide presentation at the AGM its unaudited financial accounts indicated profit before tax for the first four months of 2017/18 was up 60 per cent from the prior corresponding period.

Meanwhile, “full year PBT was expected to exceed the prior financial year by over 20 per cent”, the company said, with the board reaffirming its commitment to a “healthy dividend payout ratio if the group achieves its profit target in FY18”.

Rex said it added one Saab 340B to its fleet since July 1 2017 “for increased work”.

In August, Rex reported statutory net profit after tax of $12.62 million for the 12 months to June 30 2017, a return to the black following a net loss of $9.56 million in the prior corresponding period when it booked an impairment charge relating to the loss of a Defence contract.

Operational profit before tax, which excludes one-off charges and was regarded as the best indication of financial performance, was $17.8 million, more than four times the $4.3 million result in the prior year.

 

Source  :  Australia Aviation

Space industry an “outstanding opportunity” for Australia: Dr Megan Clark

Flag of Australia.svg

A supplied image of a cubesat miniature satellite. (UNSW Canberra)

The chair of the Expert Reference Group advising the federal government on the ideal setup of a national space agency Doctor Megan Clark says the space industry represents an “outstanding opportunity” for Australia to create jobs and generate economic activity.

The reference group is due to deliver its first report on a charter and possible structure and scope for an Australian national space agency by March 2018, following its consultations with industry.

Dr Clark says the clear message in the feedback so far is that the “time is right for Australia to increase its investment” in the space economy, estimated to be worth $335 billion in 2016.

“There’s an outstanding opportunity to grow and diversify our economies through space and into these new growth sectors which have some very high growth rates and can provide jobs,” Dr Clark told delegates at the Securing Australia’s Space Industry Forum in Canberra on November 20.

“These are not just jobs that go to Melbourne and Sydney and are concentrated. These are actually jobs that go right across the nation.

“And most importantly, I think the opportunity to tap into the creative spirit, to the true creativity that we see in Australia and to inspire the nation and bring it together.”

Canberra officially gave the green light for a national space agency in late September, with the formal announcement occurring at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide.

Currently, Australia is one of the few developed nations without a national space agency, a source of some lament for many years among those who work in the sector.

Lockheed Martin Australia Space Systems Company managing director Rod Drury said a national space agency would provide “clear, consistent leadership on space” for the Australian space community.

“It is critical that Australian industry, government and academia work together to ensure that agency has the capabilities and capacity necessary to support the sustainable growth of our burgeoning space industry by advancing technology innovations and furthering scientific discovery,” Drury said in a statement.

While Canberra has committed to set up a national space agency, it has offered few details on how the agency would be structured.

Instead, the matter was being examined by the Expert Reference Group chaired by Dr Clark, a former CSIRO chief.

Dr Clark said the reference group has been meeting with government and industry, as well as going through public submissions.

Three external reports that provided an overview of the global and national industry dynamics have also been prepared for the reference group and are available on the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website.

“We held consultations in every state and territory, round tables, and met with representatives of state governments and territory governments around the nation,” Dr Clark said. “Some 220 people attended those round tables.”

“We received some 200 admissions, which again, are now all available publicly. And we have spoken to, or met, or reviewed some 75 startup companies, 36 established Australian companies, and some 26 large international companies based here in Australia.”

Dr Clark said one of the recurring themes from its consultations with industry regarding the national space agency was the concept of a “single front door”.

“That phrase was mentioned more than many others,” Dr Clark said.

“A single front door not just to engage but also to go out and share with what’s happening in this country.

“Industry has been clear with us that in establishing the structure of the agency that we make sure that the space agency has continuity and clout.”

 

Source  :  Australian Aviation