Airport security on the mark

NEW UPGRADED security check measures for regional Australian airports will not have an impact on the Hervey Bay terminal.

The Federal Government has announced that from 2014 mandatory passenger and luggage screening already applying to airports where jet-powered aircraft are engaged will be applied to airports where turbo-prop aircraft of a similar capacity operate.

“We had our checks, baggage and screening updated ahead of Christmas 2008 which means this will make very little difference to us in the short term,” said councillor Barb Hovard, who holds the council’s business development portfolio.

“And while other airports have, we’ve never passed the costs on in the form of a levy.”

About 20 airports in regional Australia face the possibility of fare rises following the Federal Government decision, the leader of the Nationals and member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss, claims.

He says low-cost discount fares to regional airports will be a thing of the past and some airfares could more than double to meet the estimated $100 million cost of the new security measures.

Some councils will have to fork out for the purchase of hi-tech X-ray equipment and the building of new secure areas for passengers and luggage.

“If the full cost is directed at airlines – and then on to passengers – it will make services to some airports unviable,” Mr Truss said.

The new requirements will particularly affect the operations of the QantasLink fleet of Q400s that are being introduced to regional routes.

Mr Truss said at least 14 airports currently serviced by QantasLink and possibly another eight airports, among them Hervey Bay, would need to be rebuilt or have security upgraded to meet the new criteria.



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