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, Regional Development and Cities, 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.

Dr Ian Douglas, Chairperson

Dr Ian Douglas

The Governor-General appointed Dr Ian Douglas as Chairperson of the Commission for a three-year period commencing on 5 May 2016. Subsequently, the Governor-General has re-appointed Dr Douglas as Chairperson for a further period of one year until 4 May 2020. Prior to this, Dr Douglas was Acting Chairperson from November 2015 to May 2016 and was a Member of the Commission since November 2012.

From July 2007 to August 2019 Dr Douglas was a Senior Lecturer in Aviation Management in the School of Aviation at the University of New South Wales. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration and a post graduate qualification in Higher Education.

His doctoral research addressed the impacts of state ownership and economic freedom on airline financial performance. His ongoing research interests encompass the areas of air transport economics, airline business models, and the evolving role of hubs.

Prior to academia Dr Douglas had a long career with Qantas Airways, with senior roles in pricing, business development, route management, strategic planning and the Joint Services Agreement with British Airways.

He has consulted to a range of companies including Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways International, Asian Wings Airways and Tourism Queensland. He is a regular contributor to aviation management programs at the Singapore Aviation Academy, serves on the advisory board of the European Aviation Conference, and represented the Air Transport Research Society at the ICAO Air Transport Symposium in 2019.

Ms Karen Gosling, Member

Ms Karen Gosling

Ms Karen Gosling was appointed by the Governor-General as Commission Member for a three-year-term commencing on 1 November 2017.

Ms Gosling’s Australian Public Service career included leadership roles in the cultural, regional development and transport portfolios. From 2005 to 2012 Ms Gosling was in the Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development department/s. Her senior executive focus in transport was industry consultation, administering legislation and regulatory reform. In the aviation group, Ms Gosling administered legislation governing leased federal airports and chaired the Sydney Airport Slot Management Committee. As Executive Director of the Surface Transport Policy Division, Ms Gosling advised on maritime, coastal shipping, road transport, vehicle and road safety standards and national transport regulatory reforms. Prior to 2005, Ms Gosling was in the arts portfolio working with the boards of Australia’s national cultural institutions on funding, governance and risk.

Ms Gosling has advised several Ministerial Councils, including as national coordinator of the Transport and Infrastructure Council and the Cultural Ministers Council. Ms Gosling has been executive officer to independent bodies such as the National Council for the Centenary of Federation and the Review of Exhibitions and Public Programs of the National Museum of Australia in 2003. In addition, Ms Gosling has represented the Australian Government internationally including at the International Maritime Organisation and UNESCO.

Since leaving the public service, Ms Gosling was engaged as a consultant to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in 2012-2013. More recently, her focus has been on volunteer roles in her local area of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland.

Ms Gosling graduated from the Australian National University with a degree in Arts/Law in 1984 and with a Graduate Diploma in Public Law in 1990. In 2001 Ms Gosling received the Centenary of Federation Medal in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Centenary of Federation program.

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 present Jan Harris 24 November 2016 to 1 September 2019
    Karen Gosling 1 November 2017 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, Regional Development and Cities. The secretariat is headed by an Executive Director, supported by a Senior Adviser and an Administrative Officer. 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 Executive Director, and in the absence of the Executive 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.