• Ayers Rock Airport is a CTAF beneath Class G airspace, but soon a trial may see that changed to Class E over the CTAF. (Google Earth image)
    Ayers Rock Airport is a CTAF beneath Class G airspace, but soon a trial may see that changed to Class E over the CTAF. (Google Earth image)

Airservices Australia is proposing a one-year trial that will see Class E airspace implemented over the CTAF at Ayers Rock Airport.

The trial will involve restricting the CTAF to 1200 feet and new Class E control steps introduced to replace the Glass G airspace currently above Ayers Rock, with surveillance services delivered to IFR traffic through ADS-B.

"Subject to approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the proposal will only affect Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operating aircraft, allowing them to receive a surveillance based separation service from air traffic control," Airservices explains.

"There will no change to the existing Certified Air/Ground Radio Service (CA/GRS) and VFR aircraft operating in Ayers Rock will continue to self-separate."

According to Airservices, the change is being proposed as part of a national program to modernise some airspace classification.

"Airservices has commenced a five-year airspace modernisation program that delivers a series of enhancements to improve service outcomes for the industry through national standardisation and leveraging the benefits of increased surveillance, while ensuring that safety of air navigation remains our most important consideration.

"At Ayers Rock, the current traffic mix includes regular public transport (RPT) and general aviation operations. This, combined with passenger movements and available surveillance technology require an enhancement to the current service.

"With ADS-B available at Ayers Rock, a surveillance separation service is able to be provided, which enhances safety for airspace users."

However, it is believed the discussion paper has been met with resistance given that Airservices gave the  the Regional Airspace Procedures Advisory Committees (RAPAC) only four days to comment and the proposal did not go through the Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR).

Indications are that the national RAPACs may reject the trial outright, citing among other things the disparity between Class E and CTAF procedures and that conditions at Ayers Rock may actually qualify the airport for a Class D tower.

Airservices will continue to take comments from the aviation community until 31 January 2019. If it goes ahead, the trial is expected to commence in November 2019.

More information on the proposal is on the Airservices website.


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