No delays: $2.3M for security upgrades at airport
New body scanning equipment will be soon equipped at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
The new technology will be funded by Federal Government after it approved $2.3M in funding for the security upgrades.
The funding comes from the Federal Government's Regional Airports Screening Infrastructure (RASI) grant program.
The initiative provides funding to regional airports that must upgrade their security screening equipment, or commence screening, following new requirements from the Department of Home Affairs.
The RASI program eases the cost burden for modifying airports, to accommodate the equipment, and to operate the screening points for a period of time, on the condition those costs are not passed on to airport users.
NSW regional airports were asked to have the new equipment installed by December 31, 2020, but Ballina Byron requested a special extension given the volume of passengers we recorded at the end of the year.
Airport general manager Julie Stewart said some of the new body scanning equipment is already at the terminal.
"The screening point that we have is actually quite narrow, and the volume of passenger we are putting through at the moment is constrained, so we are opening up that area to allow for the new equipment, but also to grow into the future," she said.
Ms Stewart said the installation of the body scanners and other security equipment, plus the construction of Airport Boulevard (set to start today Thursday) will not impact on the passengers arriving or departing from Ballina.
"At this stage we are not expecting any changes or delays," she said.
"We are working with suppliers and the upgrade installation contractors to ensure that the terminal operates as usual."
The amount announced by Page MP Kevin Hogan is part of a total $66M allocated by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.
"This funding is in addition to the $10 million I announced last year to upgrade the runway, and $3 million committed to building a new entrance road to the airport," he said.
Ballina mayor David Wright said this announcement is important for our region's growth.
"This is exciting, not only for Ballina, but for the entire Northern Rivers," Cr Wright said.
"There has been a strong and sustained demand for our Airport's services, these funding announcements will ensure we continue to grow."