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Certification for Australia’s newest airport
Eighteen months of extensive work by staff in CASA’s Airspace and Aerodrome Regulation Division has seen the certification of the first privately built public airport in Australia.
The Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport gained CASA certification in October 2014 and officially opened for regular public transport services on 17 November 2014.
The development application for Wellcamp was approved by the Toowoomba Regional Council in late 2012, and CASA’s involvement took place soon afterwards.
This involved forming the Wellcamp Aerodrome Working Group, which brought together key stakeholders from CASA, the Department of Defence, Airservices and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to examine and discuss aviation safety and operational issues and provide advice on actions surrounding the proposed development.
The working group met every six weeks and was able to make crucial decisions involving airspace design. Some of the challenges included the close proximity to Wellcamp of the Oakey military base and Toowoomba aerodrome, the instrument approach procedures, and aerodrome design.
A detailed preliminary assessment of the airspace issues associated with the Wellcamp aerodrome was undertaken. This differed markedly from previous aeronautical studies as it was conducted on an aerodrome which was in the process of being constructed.
As part of the assessment process, the Office of Airspace Regulation held numerous industry forums and met with user group representatives, conducted stakeholder interviews, carried out risk assessments, and made site visits.
CASA provided regulatory oversight throughout the airport’s construction to ensure that all processes and procedures were being followed on schedule.
CASA’s Airspace and Aerodrome Regulation Division worked with the key stakeholders throughout the process, particularly to ensure that the aerodrome certification was in accordance with Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) Part 139.
Aerodrome certification ensures that a range of matters, such as runway specifications, training manuals, staffing and rostering, safety management systems, and airport procedures, are all compliant.
The final certification inspection was conducted in October 2014, with staff visually inspecting all areas of the airport before CASA issued the airport with its CASR Part 139 certificate.
Shortly after the aerodrome was certified, the terminal instrument flight procedures were approved in accordance with CASR Part 173, enabling the arrival and departure of Instrument Flight Rules flights.