THE federal government has approved an application from the Gold Coast Airport to install an Instrument Landing System (ILS).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss says the installation of an ILS on runway 14 is an important addition.
"Gold Coast Airport is currently the sixth busiest airport in Australia, but the only one of the 12 busiest not to have ILS capability," he says.
"The ILS will supplement existing required navigation performance and visual approach procedures to improve Gold Coast Airport's capability of ensuring safe and reliable aircraft landings.
"Since 2010, there has been an average 50 diversions per year from Gold Coast Airport due to inclement weather, as well as many more missed approaches and aircraft that never left their port of origin due to the forecast weather conditions at the Gold Coast.
"The ILS will help to reduce diversions, aircraft circling, missed approaches and flight cancellations in poor weather conditions. This will reduce the inconvenience and impost on passengers, airlines, airport retail businesses, transport operators and other stakeholders due to flight disruptions."
Gold Coast Airport currently services around six million passengers per year, which is forecast to grow to 16.3 million passengers in 2031.
Truss says the ILS is appropriate for Gold Coast Airport to function as a world-class facility.
"It will help to improve aviation facilities at the airport in preparation for the forthcoming 2018 Commonwealth Games when the number of domestic and international visitors passing through the Airport is expected to increase significantly," he says.
Truss says on fine weather days and when runway 14 is in use, which is around 140 days per year, the ILS is expected to be used no more than 10 per cent of the time.
"Maximum use of the ILS will occur on extremely bad weather days when runway 14 is in use, which is around 10 days per year," he says.
Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate has welcomed the ILS announcement which he says will drive growth in visitor numbers to the city.
"When we campaign to get more direct flights to the Gold Coast we are always asked if we have an Instrument Landing System," says Tate.
"Now we can speak with confidence that we have and (offshore carriers) will consider the Gold Coast in a much better light.
"The federal government has made the decision and safety is the main issue. I've listened to all sides of the argument, and I'm a fan of safety for the Gold Coast, that's why I'm all for it."
Tate says he believes hat public fears over air noise in residential areas will prove to be 'scaremongering' once the system kicks in.
"This is a federal government decision and we will now get behind it to make sure it works for the Gold Coast and help get more tourists into the Gold Coast."
Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton says the ILS is significant for the Gold Coast's future, delivering benefits to the regional economy and enhancing the city's reputation as a leading tourism destination.
"We are delighted the federal government has approved this important project, which will help us deliver on our vision of being the first choice for visitors and locals wishing to travel directly to and from south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales," she says.
"Importantly, this is a project the Gold Coast community overwhelmingly wanted to proceed."
The ILS is expected to become operational in 2017.
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