The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, has ordered the use of radar and multilateration technology to separate all airliner movements into Tasmanian Airports.
It is understood the order also requires the prompt application of modern air traffic control procedures at nine other regional airports in Australia.
Yesterday the Minister made this comment to the media:
“While Australia has an enviable safety record, the Gillard Labor Government nonetheless remains vigilant and ready to act on the advice of the independent safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
“In May 2009 I requested a report on the safety of air traffic services at 10 regional airports, including Launceston. In response to this request CASA has undertaken a detailed assessment of their respective air traffic services.
“I received CASA’s final report this month and have asked Airservices to work with CASA to implement the recommendations contained in the report for enhancements to aviation safety at these regional airports.”
In the case of at least Launceston and Hobart, the Minister has today directed that this means the use of controlled separation as soon as possible.
A similar direction was made by former National Party leader, John Anderson, about seven years ago. Anderson was ignored by his own department. This is unlikely to be the case with the current minister.
Albanese’s intervention, which is clearly intended to close down a politically sensitive situation, goes right over the top of CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation, which was set up to take safety related decisions concerning air traffic procedures off AirServices Australia, thus removing the potential for conflict between the commercial objectives of the air traffic control provider and the regulatory requirements of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.