QANTAS Airways Limited and Cairns Port Authority
(2005 F0268, 15 November 2005)
Application of s.11A
The applicant sought access to documents relating to the Cairns Port Authority's (the Authority) bird and wildlife risk management programme (the programme) for the Cairns International Airport. The Authority submitted that the documents were prepared or received in relation to an activity conducted on a commercial basis and were therefore excluded from the application of the FOI Act under s.11A of the FOI Act and s.486 of the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 (TI Act).
Information Commissioner Taylor found that while the programme may also serve to meet the minimum regulatory requirements for an aerodrome licence in relation to bird and animal hazard to aircraft, the documents in issue clearly demonstrated that the programme is a comprehensive activity carried out on a commercial basis involving a substantial investment by the Authority to manage the significant risks to the Authority's profit margins posed by bird strikes. It was noted that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority had outlined in recent publications that such programmes are acknowledged in the international aviation industry as highly recommended for reducing costs and enhancing profitability.
Commissioner Taylor decided that the documents relating to the programme were received, or brought into existence, by the Authority in carrying out an activity conducted on a commercial basis and therefore the documents remaining in issue are excluded from the application of the FOI Act by s.11A of the FOI Act and s.486 of the TI Act.