Ballina Byron Gateway Airport will have a control tower in place no later than 27 November 2025 in accordance with the conclusions of an airspace study completed last year, CASA announced today.
CASA has issued a direction to establish CTA from 2025, and says it will work closely with Airservices to support airspace design.
The changes will come in two phases.
The first phase will see the airspace reclassified and an approach control service implemented by 12 June 2025.
The second phase will see the establishment of a new aerodrome control service by Airservices no later than 27 November 2025.
ATC for Ballina has been on the cards for several years as growth in the region has translated into more movements at the airport, which is a CTAF.
Several incidents at Ballina, including one in 2021 where a Caravan pilot took off into the path of a landing B737, have prompted Airservices to establish an Surveillance Flight Information System (SFIS) operated from Brisbane. Frequency changes for nearby CTAFs introduced last year were intended to reduce radio congestion on Ballina CTAF.
CASA's Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) released a draft report in June last year that made nine recommendations, which included establishing a Class D tower at Ballina no later than 30 November 2023.
"When we review airspace it’s important that we look not only at what is happening today, but also to look at growth trends in recent years and what operators are predicting into the future," CASA Branch Manager Air Navigation, Airspace and Aerodromes Adrian Slootjes said.
"We consider a range of data and information, look at incidents and occurrences and take a risk-based approach to our recommendations.
"While there have been a range of incremental changes and enhancements in aviation safety in the region, we consider that these additional changes are required to ensure the safety of passenger transport operations and all airspace users in and around Ballina."
The OAR and Airservices will work on an Airspace Change Proposal outlining details of the new service throughout 2024.