Ken O'Dowd says be patient
FEDERAL and state politicians are confused, or at a loss, as to why the Gladstone airport closes in bad weather.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the current situation with regard to passengers being bussed to and from Rockhampton during this period of heavy rain is a temporary measure put in place by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for the safety of the flying public.
“Because of the runway upgrade and the fact that the auto guidance lights are in the process of being installed, CASA and the Gladstone Airport Management team have taken the correct decision to err on the side of caution,'' he said.
However, when The Observer contacted CASA a spokesperson said that CASA played no part in closing the airport.
“Airport management makes those decisions,” the spokesperson said.
But when The Observer contacted Gladstone Airport, management refused to comment and referred us to Qantas Link.
Independent State Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham said when she recently caught a flight from Brisbane to Gladstone the plane couldn't land due to low cloud.
“My question has always been, but the planes have instruments – why can't they land?” Ms Cunningham said.
“I think people are justified to be frustrated.
“If what the Gladstone Airport needs is a control tower to allow planes to land and take off, then that is what they need to install.”
Mr O'Dowd said when the airport extensions are complete he is confident it will adequately cater for the city's air travel needs for years to come.