New security equipment installed at Rockhampton Airport
FOR THOSE who haven't been to the Rockhampton Airport in the last couple of months would be surprised to see how much construction has been completed as part of the $41 million terminal upgrade.
The new state of the art body scanners and baggage screening equipment were revealed today.
Rockhampton is the first regional airport in the country to complete the upgrade which was required by the Australian Government as part of a new aviation security initiative.
Mayor Margaret Strelow was excited to see the progress at the airport and welcomed the completion of one part of the upgrades.
The new scanners replace the old metal detectors and users will be asked to enter the scanner, raise their arms and do a full 360 degree turn.
The scanners were able to detect items worn or carried on the body.
Laptops and technology will not be required to be taken out of the bags as the new technology allows for everything to go through at once.
"It's much more sensitive and it's brilliant from a user's point of view and allows airport security staff to be much more accurate with much less interruption to the travelling public," Cr Strelow said.
The new mandatory equipment and screening process took up nearly double the space which was used by the previous kit, meaning council had to reconfigure the entire terminal to fit it in.
"We used that opportunity to expand, bring more light and to have better traffic and passenger movements through the airport itself," Cr Strelow.
The masterplan upgrades include amenities replacements, new cafes, concourse upgrades, new and improved car hire booths and improved look and functionality of the airport overall.
Cr Strelow said the upgrade would take the airport through to the future and prepare the facility for the next 20 to 40 years.
She thanked former mayor Jim Webber for negotiating on an airport that has allowed room for growth.
"It's a very adaptable building… it lets us make changes like this to the terminal," she said.
Airport champion Rockhampton councillor Neil Fisher enthusiastically praised the new equipment and said it doesn't pick up things like pins in legs and ankles, creating less hassle for users.
The new security equipment was required to be installed by December and COVID-19 has allowed Rockhampton to be well ahead of schedule.
The work has been completed by Wollam Constructions who were originally going to have to do the works at night but with flights cancelled due to pandemic travel restrictions, they were able to get a lot more done during the day.
"There's been no delays as far as people boarding planes, it's been a fantastic job by Woollams," he said.
"When you look that the project went to council at the end of last year, to being at this stage, that shows council's project delivery team has been spot on and the airport management, the builders, engineers and all of the support people."
The federal government contributed $4.31 million towards the cost of the new security equipment which Capricornia MP Michelle Landry was eager to see come to life.
"It has really bought Rocky up with the capital cities and once this airport is completed, it will be absolutely fantastic," she said.
She said the new equipment was vital for national and international security.
"There is always the threat of people getting on planes with devices that they shouldn't have on them," she said.
Ms Landry said the equipment would allow the airport to be viable for international flights, something she had worked on with council on for a long time.
"We could have more international countries come in for things like training exercises at Shoalwater Bay."