No risk to safety: Airport to decommission landing system
Safety will not be affected when landing equipment costing in excess of $200,000 a year to maintain is decommissioned at Gladstone Airport, according to CEO Mark Cachia.
Mr Cachia told The Observer it was rare to find Instrument Landing Systems at regional airports, and the equipment was originally introduced in Gladstone because of how industrial activity on Curtis Island might affect the landing of aircraft.
"To date this has not been an issue," he said.
The 10.5 million project came online in 2014, and is expected to be decommissioned before the end of the financial year.
In 2013, The Observer reported that funds were allocated by GLNG, QCLNG, APLNG and Arrow Energy after it was found that plumes from projects on Curtis Island could interfere with the safe landing of aircraft.
While the decision made financial sense, Mr Cachia said the airport would not have gone ahead if it believed safety would be affected.
"We are very comfortable that we've done the assessments and it does not increase any risk or safety concerns," he said.
Consultation was done with all the major airlines using the airport, as well as CASA, the RFDS and Airservices Australia, and it is expected the ILS will be decommissioned before the end of the financial year.
Aviation Projects Managing Director and Principal Consultant, Keith Tonkin, agreed that safety would not be impacted as a result of the decision.
"We provided some analysis in relation to the effectiveness of the ILS in comparison to other flight procedures," Mr Tonkin said.
He described the system as using radio frequency to give incoming aircraft directional information on their approach to the airport.
The decommissioning decision comes as Airservices Australia prepares to implement changes to approach procedures for aircraft arriving at Gladstone Airport from late February.
The air navigation service provider describes Baro-VNAV (barometric vertical navigation) as allowing aircraft to land more smoothly without using ground based navigation equipment, as well as decreasing reliance on visual assessments on approach.
Mr Cachia said Baro-VNAV would be in place at Gladstone before the ILS was decommissioned.