The Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport.
The Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport.

Ballina airport has late flights

MORE than a quarter of all flights leaving Ballina for Sydney during October were late leaving the airport.

It was the worst departure record of all airports in the country.

Only 71.7 per cent of flights from Ballina to Sydney left the airport on time, according to figures from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

The three carriers – Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Regional Express – operated 330 flights on the route in October.

Of the 166 departures, only 119 flights left on time. There were 164 arrivals, with 124 of those, or 75 per cent, arriving on time.

The Federal Government allows for a 15-minute delay after a plane’s scheduled arrival/departure time before it is counted as being late.

Virgin Blue had the best record, with 85pc of its flights leaving at the scheduled time and 85pc of flights arriving on time.

Jetstar came in second – 78pc of its flights left on time and 70pc arrived on time.

The worst-performing airline was Regional Express.

Only 64 per cent of Rex flights departed Ballina airport on time, and only 60pc arrived on time.

Ballina Shire Council’s civil services group manager, John Truman, said the council did not monitor the department’s figures.

“If the delays are caused by airport infrastructure then the airlines will raise those issues with us,” he said.

“But we haven’t had any information about that. It really comes down to how the airlines manage their own turnarounds.

“The upgrade of the terminal was completed a year ago, which has certainly helped with departures.”

The council has advertised for an airport manager, but so far it has had no luck in finding someone for the job.

General manager Paul Hickey said a dedicated manager was needed to oversee the future development of the airport.

“It’s a specialist area so we need to make sure we get the right person,” he said.

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