Tower hour cuts add up to savings

THE closure of the Tamworth airport control tower on weekends is one of a number of proposals being made as part of an annual review of airport operations in the city by Airservices Australia. 

It is understood that discussions about how to improve the airport’s services will be held with stakeholders and service providers, including Qantas and Brindabella, over the coming few months. 

Former pilot and aviation enthusiast John Wakefield said Airservices had recently announced, among its many proposals, that it would suggest closing the operations of the Tamworth air traffic control tower on weekends from June 1.

This decision was based on what were considered “by world standards” lower-than-required traffic levels for a weekend air traffic monitoring service to be provided. 

Mr Wakefield said weekday traffic was a different matter. 

“During the week the situation is different because of the number of movements from the BAE Flying College,” he said. 

He said should the Airservices proposal to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) about the weekend closure go ahead it would remove a large cost for people learning to fly at the airport.

“Students undertaking training for a commercial pilot’s licence would save thousands of dollars in the extra charges associated with helping to fund the tower being open,” he said. 

An Airservices  spokesman said as a result of an ongoing review of traffic since 2009, Airservices was in the process of consulting with the airport, airlines and operators about a proposal to change the control tower hours at the airport. 

He said there was “no change” proposed to air traffic control services during week. 

“Airservices continually reviews the provision of our services to ensure operational efficiencies while maintaining high levels of safety,” he said.

“Following industry consultation, Airservices will conduct a safety review and risk analysis involving CASA.

“Any change to tower hours at Tamworth airport would require approval from CASA.”

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