Thursday, July 24, 2014

Local Aviators Not Happy over Future of Rockhampton Airport's Runway 04/22

As reported, a meeting for stakeholders, pilots, and other interested parties was hosted by the Rockhampton Regional Council and held at the Rockhampton Aero Club Building on Monday night, regarding proposed changes to the smaller cross Runway 04/22 at Rockhampton Airport.  And some local aviators were left unimpressed.

There are six proposals being put forward by Council, including reducing the length of the runway from between 1200 to 750 metres, to closing down the secondary runway entirely.  Runway 04/22 is currently some 1645 metres long.

Pilot and Rockhampton Aero Club Member Paul Tyler is disappointed the airport plans weren't given to runway users sooner.  He feels that a decision on shortening the runway has been made with any consultation period already over.

It appears from plans given to Paul that the crossing Runway 04/22 will be shortened to somewhere around 800-1200 metres.  Council also seem to be looking at putting more hangers down on the grassed area near the existing rental hangers, and using the current threshold area of Runway 22 as a taxiway for larger aircraft.  Strange suggestions given that Council also admitted that there are no current customers wanting that space provided.

Private pilots would prefer the runway to be around 1200 metres.  If the Runway length was reduced to 800 metres, there may be times where the runway can't actually be used because of its length.

Council also cited that the lights on Runway 04/22 don’t meet standards.  There was agreement that the lights aren't really needed and the runway could be left as a day-time runway only.  Moreover, the cost of resurfacing the runway would be around $2 million at today's costs, and this is likely to need to occur in 2021.

Another local aviator - who uses Runway 04/22 at least once a fortnight on those occasions when there are winds from the east or west - supports shortening the Runway to allow the Eastern side of Rockhampton Airport to be freed up for more business and more activity at the Airport.

However, he too doesn't want to see the cross Runway become unusable as it is a good back-up for commercial operations and General Aviation (GA) operators including the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

Watch this space!

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