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Wednesday, 18 February 1987
Page: 310

(Question No. 4920)

Mr Moore asked the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 19 November 1986:

(1) Is it a fact that (a) between 1980 and 1986, 69 in-flight pilot errors occurred in airspace in the Cairns area and (b) in a report, dated 11 May 1984, his Department recommended that radar services be introduced at the Cairns Airport due to the expected and forthcoming increase in air traffic as a result of the booming tourist industry.

(2) Will he seek to improve the unsatisfactory safety measures which exist in airspace in the Cairns area by recommending that techniques at the airport which have been in use since the 1950's be replaced with radar services.

Mr Peter Morris —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation has been able to find only 9 breakdowns of separation in the Cairns area where pilot related factors were present, in the seven year period from 1980 to 1986.

(b) My Department is not aware of any Departmental report dated 11 May 1984. There was an internal minute of that date which requested radar at Cairns.

There are many requests for radar throughout Australia. Proposals are developed into a national plan based on requests from both within my Department and the Aviation Industry who have to bear the additional cost of each new radar system.

The introduction of a radar service is only economically justified when the costs to the Aviation Industry from aircraft delays become excessive and outweigh the attributable cost of the radar service.

My Department's Airways Plan includes the extension of radar coverage up the Queensland Coast into the Cairns area over the next five to ten years. The Airways Plan has been discussed with the Aviation Industry and staff associations. Consultations on the details of the radar program and its cost are planned for early 1987.

(2) Cairns Airport operates under International Civil Aviation Organisations (ICAO) non-radar procedures as do numerous other airports, both in Australia and overseas. These procedures continue to provide safe aircraft operations throughout Australia.