Perth Airport has moved to assure smaller airlines they will not be penalised under a new slot system to manage congestion.
Skippers Aviation, which has nine of the 11 regulated air routes to small regional centres, fears it will be excluded from the morning peak departure period despite having some of the routes for 22 years.
Skippers chairman Stan Quinlivan says it appears to regional communities and some mid to large mining companies that any plane with fewer than 46 seats has no right to use take-off slots they have used, in some cases, for 20 years.
Mr Quinlivan said documentation showed smaller planes would be excluded from the slot system.
He suggested that if this was the case, WA should consider similar legislation to that in NSW, where protection was given at Sydney Airport to flights from rural areas.
Mr Quinlivan said congestion at the airport was setting the airline back an average of 30 minutes on departures, with delays on most days for each service.
This put additional workloads and stress on pilots and made it necessary on most days to carry an extra 15 minutes of fuel, a payload equal to one passenger.
Delays at the airport cost an estimated $24 million a year.