Regional Express (REX) has poured cold water over a proposal to install security at Griffith airport.
Griffith Business Chamber had urged Griffith City Council to prioritise the installation of security at Griffith Airport.
The chamber’s proposal is aimed at enabling the airport to cater for passenger aircraft in excess of 20 tonne, possibly opening the airport up to other carriers and destinations.
Council responded by saying they had investigated the idea, and the high ongoing cost meant the only viable option was to pass the cost on to carriers.
It’s a cost the only current Griffith carrier, REX, said it was not willing to bear in a statement on Thursday.
“As responsible stakeholders, we need to be willing to put our money where our mouth is.”
“If the Griffith Business Chamber believes that there is a business case for setting up airport security screening at Griffith airport in spite of council's reservations, then the Chamber should underwrite the losses if the expected new services do not cover the significant additional costs incurred.”
“Rex does not believe that there is any business case for equipping Griffith airport with security screening and if such is implemented, Rex will not contribute to the cost recovery given that Rex’s aircraft do not legally require screening under the Federal Government legislation.”
Griffith Business Chamber president Paul Pierotti said in response, “I’m astonished REX wouldn’t want a safer service for their customers and their staff.”
“Our business community is by far REX’s biggest Griffith customer, and we accepted the need for an increased levy to pay for security. So essentially, we would pay for it.”
Rob Robilliard, a Griffith aviation expert, urged a more cautious attitude towards the only airline servicing Griffith.
“I think we need to tread carefully. If you upset the apple cart, you may end up with nothing,” he said.
Mr Pierotti’s stance was supported by 80 per cent of The Area News readers who responded to our poll, saying the extra cost of security in ticket prices is worth long-term gain.
Whether this would translate to bums on seats is another question.