PREPARE for take off, with the federal government announcing $5.5 million to upgrade security at Tamworth and Armidale Regional Airports.
The changes are part of a broader plan to strengthen security at airports across the country.
Armidale Regional Council councillor Andrew Murat said the news means bigger aircraft can land in Armidale.
“If we go to bigger air crafts they automatically require screening, that was always the rationale behind us designing the bigger terminal,” he said.
“Council was cunning enough to put infrastructure into place so we’re ready to move forward on the security upgrades.”
The 30 and 50 seater planes that currently land in Armidale are no longer being manufactured, so it’s just a matter of time before Qantas engages larger aircraft.
But, Cr Murat said the new security would mean there’s a small surcharge put on each ticket out of Armidale.
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“It’s a user-pays system, it’s the same in bigger airports like Sydney and it does give us an increased level of security,” he said.
“It means our airport can finally reach the next level, the council hasn’t really got a choice in putting in security, it’s being brought in by the federal government to increase safety.”
The budget has announced $2 million for Tamworth Airport to install a new instrument landing system.
The threat of potential terrorism attacks has been on the forefront of the government’s minds, and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said these upgrades will keep Australians safe.
“Regional aviation is critical to our communities and the economy - that’s why we have invested in projects like a new $2 million new instrument landing system at Tamworth and more than $3.5 million toward upgrades at Armidale airport,” he said.
“We now also have more funding for important security upgrades at these airports in the heart of the New England, ensuring passengers will continue to remain safe and that our aviation sector remains protected from the constantly evolving threat of terrorism.”
Training will be ramped up for security personell, they will need to meet new national standards and pass an accreditation test each year.
“These changes to screener training will work hand in hand with the upgrades to screening equipment to make sure our passenger, baggage and cargo screening remains as effective as it can possibly be,” Mr Joyce said.