Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aviation regulator flies off the handle

The Government agency responsible for air traffic control around Australia has responded vigorously to a media report claiming that a delay in upgrading equipment at Gold Coast Airport was endangering lives.

Chief Executive of Airservices Australia, Greg Russell labelled the Gold Coast Bulletin’s report “sensationalist, inaccurate and unhelpful”.

Mr Russell said the Gold Coast airport was operating safely.

“Irresponsible speculation on this point risks damaging confidence in the airport and the local economy which relies on the business and tourism benefits it delivers,” Mr Russell said.

Media reports criticized

He said Airservices Australia was working closely with the airport and the aviation industry to progress the installation of an instrument landing system (ILS) at the airport.

He said sufficient funds had been allocated for the project to proceed as soon as possible.

“As each ILS installation is site-specific, detailed engineering, technical and airspace design work is required to ensure the installed equipment delivers the best possible outcome for the airport, aircraft operators and the community,” Mr Russell said.

“Community consultation will also be required beforehand if the installation of an ILS results in flight path changes.”

Mr Russell said Airservices was already investing heavily at Gold Coast and other regional airports around the country.

“We are close to completing a $2.3 million refurbishment of the Gold Coast air traffic control tower and our aviation fire station at the airport has also undergone an upgrade,” Mr Russell said.

“It is equipped with brand new Mk8s ultra-large fire vehicles and a new digital Fire Control Centre.

“Readers can be assured that Airservices is fully committed to continual upgrading of its facilities at the airport in line with the growth in passenger traffic being experienced,” Mr Russell said.

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