The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) report into Port Hedland aerodrome has been released on the CASA website.  The report dated October 2011 has recommended Airservices Australia in conjunction with the airport operator consider an upgrade of the Air Traffic Services provided at Port Hedland.

The report has found in the ten years between 2001 and 2011 there has been a 5.2% increase in the number of flights into Port Hedland with an average 16% per year growth in passenger numbers.  Over the last 5 years measured by the report between 2006 to 2011 the numbers have accelerated to an annual increase in flights of 17.6% per year carrying 24.9% more passengers a year.  In the last full year measured, 2010 to 2011, there were just over 17,000 annual movements carrying almost 435,000 passengers.  Industry sources are forecasting around 10% growth in the near future, with the prediction of more flights direct from the east coast of Australia to Port Hedland.

The OAR have published the following recommendations,

  • That the Port Hedland aerodrome operator and Airservices should consider the introduction of either a Certified Air/Ground Radio Service5 (CA/GRS) – as supplied by the aerodrome operator or an Aerodrome Flight Information Service6 (AFIS) provided by Airservices Australia (Airservices) in the short-term. This will assist with risk mitigation until further measures are adopted.
  • If no other mitigations such as CA/GRS or an AFIS are implemented, CASA should make a Determination that Port Hedland becomes a controlled aerodrome before June 2013 and at that time re-classify the Port Hedland airspace accordingly.
  • Airservices should immediately prepare strategies for Port Hedland aerodrome to become a controlled aerodrome with associated change to the airspace classification.
  • CASA should continue to monitor traffic levels at Port Hedland.

pdf OAR Report Port Hedland Aerodrome for a copy of the report.