Irrespective of whether Virgin choose to conduct their pilot training in Tamworth or not we will see these facilities flat out within a year-and-a-half to two years.Tamworth mayor Col Murray
TAMWORTH mayor Col Murray said the installation of a multi-million safety system at the airport will make the facility attractive to even more flight schools, as the council's deal with Virgin remains up in the air.
The council cut the proverbial ribbon on the airport's new instrument landing system (ILS) this week.
It's a $2 million piece of essential equipment, funded by the federal government, for safe landing, take-off and navigation.
It replaces the airport's antiquated system which was installed in 1992.
Cr Murray said it would see the airport become a hive of activity within two years.
"We've got a great suite of companies have an interest in it now," he said.
"Irrespective of whether Virgin choose to conduct their pilot training in Tamworth or not we will see these facilities flat out within a year-and-a-half to two years.
"It is such an outstanding facility and such great weather, it is inevitable we will fully utilise the facilities here."
The council's deal with Virgin Australia is being investigated by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
It has been previously reported Virgin planned to train up to 500 pilots a year in Tamworth.
The deal came under intense scrutiny recently after it was revealed the school was linked to two Chinese conglomerates with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce said the installation of the ILS could help Tamworth Regional Council turn the airport into an international freight terminal.
"This is also a capacity that Tamworth has," he said.
"But we take this step-by-step: the expansion of the runaway, the flight training school all goes hand in glove as we make sure the produce from the Peel Valley has markets not only domestically, not only in Sydney and Brisbane, but around the world."
Deputy Prime Minster Michael McCormack said the ILS would help keep jobs in town after the withdrawal of the Australian Defence Force's training school in Tamworth.
He said it would strengthen local aircraft businesses and education.