Airport funding boost may flow on

SECURITY screening will not be beefed up at Hervey Bay Airport as a direct result of a government funding boost for regional airports.

Airport manager Sharon Henderson remained optimistic yesterday that security at Fraser Coast airports would be enhanced through a knock-on effect from the $32 million announcement.

Ms Henderson said the increase in the number of passengers being subjected to explosive trace detection in Australia represented an improved overall security outcome for Hervey Bay Airport.

The provision of $12.3 million to maintain a police presence at major airports would also have a knock-on benefit for the region, she said.

“While the increase in AFP resourcing may not flow down to the smaller screened airports such as Hervey Bay, we are hopeful that some of this funding will assist in supporting the work of the AFP’s Regional Rapid Deployment Team, who routinely visit our sites and provide a valuable additional security presence on these visits.

“We have passenger explosive trace detection already in operation for screened flights, so these changes will likely only represent an increased workflow obligation for Qantas Security who are the security screening contractors at Hervey Bay Airport.”

The status quo, in terms of security, will remain in place for QantasLink and Virgin Blue, the airlines operating out of the Fraser Coast.

A spokesperson for Qantas said the level of security screening was based on the weight of the aircraft as per Federal Government guidelines.

“Qantas will support measures that improve aviation safety and security and recognises the government’s intentions to do so.

“We will work closely with the government and border agencies to ensure measures balance the priorities of passenger safety and security with the practical operations of airports and airlines.”

A Virgin Blue spokeswoman confirmed the airline’s screening processes in Hervey Bay were in accordance with Federal Government standards and included “appropriate screening required for jet aircraft services”.

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