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Fight for flight service

NEED FOR SERVICE: Gayndah Airport was vital during the floods, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Minister for Local Government David Crisafulli were amongst many who needed the airport.
NEED FOR SERVICE: Gayndah Airport was vital during the floods, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Minister for Local Government David Crisafulli were amongst many who needed the airport. Brandon Livesay

A NATIONAL review of the aviation industry has recommended the removal of Gayndah Airport's aerodrome forecast.

If the recommendations in the Bureau of Meteorology's draft report are adopted, the local council would have to fund the service, to ensure its continuation.

Currently Gayndah's forecast is supplied at no cost to North Burnett Regional Council and it is the only system at  any of the region's airports.  

A report prepared by the council's director of technical services Ken Palmer states the cost of an installed automatic weather station suitable for aviation use is typically between $100,000 and $150,000.

Annual maintenance costs can vary between $2000 and $15,000.  

Mr Palmer's report concluded that "although the Gayndah Airport can operate without the TAF (Terminal Aerodrome Forecast) service, it would improve the overall operation of the airport and allow for the development of the airport and surrounding area".  

Mayor Don Waugh told councillors at a meeting on February 19 the region couldn't lose another service. "We are losing services hand over fist," he said.  

"The last thing we need is to lose another service."  

Council CEO Mark Pitt said a submission would be made to the Bureau of Meterology, local and federal members of parliament  

"We need accurate weather forecasting," Mr Pitt said.  

The request would need to provide appropriate evidence proving an extension was required.  

But the bureau would apply the criteria defined in the review to determine if an extension to the service was warranted.

According to the review, flights to destinations without a forecast service are required to carry sufficient fuel to allow them to divert to a suitable alternate airport.  

The review states "TAFs are important meteorological forecasts produced for the aviation industry.

"And the availability, or non-availability, of a quality TAF for certain locations can have significant safety and financial impacts for the aviation industry and regional communities".  

The draft report is open for comment until March 30.  

South Burnett

Topics:  airport, aviation, forecast, gayndah, weather


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