Monday, May 7, 2012

Security Screening Starts at Emerald Airport as a New Terminal Could be on the Horizon

Airline passengers departing from the Emerald Airport will no undergo security screening.  The Central Highlands Regional Council has recently been approved as the screening authority for Emerald Airport and has had its transport and security plan approved by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

The security screening point which has just opened, compliments a small increase in capacity for the passenger waiting area, and caps off recent developments at Emerald Airport.  However, with all these recent upgrades now complete, Emerald Airport is yet again fast approaching capacity and in need of a further revamp.

Presently, Virgin Australia and QantasLink operate about 60 regular passenger transport (RPT) flights a week through Emerald Airport, with that number expected to rise to over 100 in the coming years.

But it is the increase in fly-in fly-out (FIFO) charter flights that has prompted the latest solution, which is aimed at making airport operations more efficient and allowing the airport to meet increasing demand.

Plans are reportedly underway to create a wholly separate FIFO terminal at Emerald Airport. This will allow mine workers to pass through a completely separate building and bypass the recently introduced security screening check-point, with the idea of freeing up the existing terminal for the increase in RPT passengers.

Not all FIFO charter passengers need to go through the security screening as no requirement for passengers who land or take-off in an aircraft that is under a certain weight to go through security screening.

As well as the need for a stand-alone FIFO terminal building, there will also be the requirement to separate planes and their parking bays on the tarmac.

The idea closely resembles the structure currently in place at the Perth Domestic Airport, where a massive increase in FIFO traffic dictated the need to free up the existing terminal for regular passengers.  Hence, as well as the existing domestic terminals, there are separate FIFO-only terminals that operate on the airport.

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