The Weatherill Labor Government must now reveal the details of a taxpayer funded marketing deal with AirAsia X to attract the airline to Adelaide.
Shadow Minister for Tourism David Ridgway has reiterated his call for greater transparency following yesterday’s demand, sparked by safety concerns by the Transport Workers Union to suspend AirAsia’s Australian operations.
In October 2013, AirAsia X – an affiliate carrier of the AirAsia Group – began direct flights between Adelaide and Malaysia, following a deal with the South Australian Labor Government.
Premier Weatherill and Tourism Minister Leon Bignell signed the deal, claiming that it would inject $30 million into the State’s economy, but refused to say how much taxpayer money had been committed to a cooperative marketing agreement with the airline.
Some 14 months later, the service was cancelled due to lack of profitability. The equivalent service continued with other major Australian airports.
Yesterday the TWU called for an audit of the Airline by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority following leaked reports over the AirAsia QZ8501 crash in December last year.
Mr Ridgway expressed his concern at the seeming lack of due diligence done by the Weatherill Labor Government, prior to its taxpayer funded deal to entice the Airlie’s business.
“Just a year out from Premier Weatherill’s decision to spend money entering a cooperative marketing agreement with AirAsia X, we have seen AirAsia’s Adelaide operation fail financially and then shortly thereafter, major safety concerns raised,” said Mr Ridgway.
“South Australian taxpayers deserve to know how much of their money was thrown at attracting an airline whose entire national operation is now in serious question.”