About the Commission

Role of the Commission | Members of the Commission | The Secretariat

Role of the Commission

The Commission was established under the International Air Services Commission Act 1992. The object of the Act is to enhance the welfare of Australians by promoting economic efficiency through competition in the provision of international air services, resulting in:

  • increased responsiveness by airlines to the needs of consumers, including an increased range of choices and benefits; and
  • growth in Australian tourism and trade; and
  • the maintenance of Australian carriers capable of competing effectively with airlines of foreign countries

The Commission's role is to determine the outcomes of applications by existing and prospective Australian airlines for capacity and route entitlements available under air services arrangements. These determinations allocate the available capacity on a route to one or more carriers and set conditions, where these are considered appropriate. The Commission may conduct a review of a determination at any time, either at the request of the carrier concerned or if the Commission believes that there may be grounds for doing so. The Commission is also responsible for reviewing determinations after a specified period and providing advice to the Minister for Transport about any matter referred to the Commission by the Minister concerning international air operations.

In allocating capacity, the Commission assesses the merits of claims by applicants under specified public benefit criteria. These criteria are detailed in Policy Statements issued, from time to time, by the Minister.

The Government, through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, continues to have the responsibility for administering and negotiating Australia's air services arrangements. In this role, the department is responsible for maintaining a Register of Available Capacity for use by the Commission and applicants. This register details the capacity available under each air services arrangement, and is updated to reflect changes in capacity entitlements arising from new negotiations and determinations by the Commission. The department is also responsible for making operational decisions that authorise carriers to fly on each route based on the Commission's determinations.

Members of the Commission

The Commission is comprised of a Chairperson and a Member, appointed on a part-time basis. Its office in Canberra is assisted by a small Secretariat.

Ms Genevieve Butler, Chairperson

Ms Genevieve Butler

Ms Genevieve Butler was appointed by the Governor-General as part-time Chairperson of the Commission for a three-year term commencing on 5 August 2021.  Ms Butler has been a Member of the Commission since 14 May 2021.  

Ms Butler is a government lawyer with an expertise in administrative law, statutory interpretation and aviation law.  She has provided in-house legal advice to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, particularly regarding the application of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and the Freedom of Information Act 1982.  She provided legal advice regarding the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 and for coronial inquiries regarding aviation accidents. Previously, she conducted litigation for the ACT Government Solicitor in the ACT Supreme Court and ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, working on matters including regulation and licensing, public and constitutional law, information privacy, citizen’s rights and community protection. She has also worked for the Department of Parliamentary Services, providing advice to Senators and Members of Parliament on matters including intellectual property law, international human rights and administrative law. 

Ms Butler has a broad governance background. In addition to her role as Chairperson of the Commission, she is currently Chair of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, an ACT Government ministerial advisory body.  Ms Butler was previously a national Board Member of the Association of Corporate Counsel Australia (ACC), and ACT President of the ACC. She is a former member of the ACT Government’s Brand Strategic Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of Community Services #1.  Ms Butler also served on the ACT Law Society’s Government Law Committee and Military Law Committee for many years and is a former editor of the Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand’s periodical.

Ms Butler’s international career in public affairs took her to Europe, North America and Africa. She worked as an external relations adviser for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York and for the United Nations Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia. During this time, she also Chaired a Board of Inquiry. Ms Butler held the role of Public Affairs Manager for the Australian Embassy to Belgium and Mission to the European Union and NATO, based in Brussels. She has also worked as a foreign correspondent and producer for leading media organisations including CNN, CNBC and Reuters in London, Paris, Stockholm, Frankfurt and Brussels.

Ms Butler holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the Australian National University (ANU), Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the NSW College of Law, Master of Journalism from the University of Queensland and Bachelor of Arts from the ANU. She is admitted as a practitioner of the Supreme Court of NSW and holds an Unrestricted Government Practicing Certificate from the ACT Law Society. She speaks French.

Ms Jane McKeon

Ms Jane McKeon

Ms Jane McKeon was appointed by the Governor-General as part-time Member of the Commission for a three-year term commencing 16 December 2021. Ms McKeon was initially appointed as Acting Member of the Commission by the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development from 1 October to 26 December 2021.

Ms McKeon has experience in public policy and stakeholder management. She is a consultant providing advisory services to clients in the private and public sectors and a member of the UNSW School of Aviation Industry Advisory Committee. Prior to 2019, she had a long career in the airline industry, having joined Ansett Australia as a management trainee in 1998.

As Group Executive – Government Relations for Virgin Australia from 2010 to 2018,
Ms McKeon was responsible for advancing the airline’s interests, profile and reputation with governments, regulators and industry stakeholders in Australia and internationally. In this role, she led Virgin Australia’s engagement to influence policy and regulatory frameworks to support the airline’s strategic transformation program, which included a corporate restructuring to enable greater shareholder investment; significant expansion in the regional, freight and charter market segments; and the development of new international routes and associated commercial cooperation agreements with airline partners and tourism marketing organisations. Ms McKeon also worked with her industry counterparts to establish the Airlines for Australia and New Zealand advocacy body in 2017, serving as an inaugural Director, and was a member of the Tourism and Transport Forum Advisory Board and the International Air Transport Association Industry Affairs Committee.

From 2002 to 2010, Ms McKeon was employed by Qantas Airways. She was appointed General Manager – Government and International Relations in 2004, with responsibility for promoting the carrier’s interests in the development of Australia’s aviation and related policy settings, and managing economic regulatory activities to support Qantas’ international passenger and freighter services and the launch of Jetstar Airways as an Australian international carrier. She also represented the Qantas Group on the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia, the Aeropolitical Committee of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines and the Australian Tourism Export Council.

Ms McKeon served as a Board member of the Council of Australia Latin America Relations from 2013 to 2017 and as a Commissioner of Tourism Western Australia from 2011 to 2013.

She holds Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) and Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Melbourne and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Commission Chairpersons and Members since 1992

The following table sets out the Chairpersons and Members of the Commission since the Commission was founded in 1992.

Chairpersons Period Members Period
Stuart Fowler July 1992 to
April 1993
Brian Johns July 1992 to
June 1997
James Bain July 1993 to
June 1998
Russell Miller July 1992 to
June 1998
Russell Miller July 1998 to
January 2000
Michael Lawriwsky December 1997 to February 2007
Michael Lawriwsky and Stephen Lonergan (Members presiding at alternate meetings) January 2000 to August 2000 Stephen Lonergan August 1998 to August 2004
Ross Jones August 2000 to August 2003 Vanessa Fanning November 2004 to November 2007
John Martin November 2003 to November 2009 Philippa Stone July 2007 to July 2010
Philippa Stone and Ian Smith (Members presiding at alternate meetings) November 2009 to June 2010 Ian Smith November 2007 to February 2011
Ian Smith and Stephen Bartos (Members presiding at alternate meetings) July 2010 to February 2011    
Jill Walker 9 February 2011 to 11 August 2014 Stephen Bartos 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2013
Ian Douglas and John King (Members presiding at alternate meetings) September 2014 to November 2015 Ian Douglas 8 November 2012 to 7 November 2015
Ian Douglas (Acting) November 2015 to May 2016 John King 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2016
Ian Douglas 5 May 2016 to 13 August 2021 Jan Harris 24 November 2016 to 1 September 2019
    Karen Gosling 1 November 2017 to 30 January 2021, 2 March to 29 October 2021
    Genevieve Butler 14 May 2021 to 4 August 2021
    Jane McKeon (Acting) 1 October 2021 to 16 December 2021
Genevieve Butler

5 August 2021 to present

Jane McKeon 16 December 2021 to present

The Secretariat

The Commission is assisted in its work by a small secretariat. The secretariat is staffed by officers of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. The secretariat is headed by a Director, supported by a Senior Adviser. These officers provide advice and assistance to the Commissioners on all aspects of the Commission’s operations.

Further, the Commission has delegated certain powers and functions

to the Director, and in the absence of the Director, the Senior Adviser. These arrangements enable the delegate to make a range of determinations and decisions on behalf of the Commissioners. Generally, these relate to cases that are straightforward. More complex matters are dealt with by the Commissioners.