A FIFO charter plane lines up a landing at Capella.
A FIFO charter plane lines up a landing at Capella. Joan Krause

FIFO charters add burden in Capella

CAPELLA residents are wary about an increase in air traffic at the town’s unmanned, infrastructure-bare airstrip in recent weeks.

Residents said a number of six-seater charter flights carrying fly-in fly-out mine workers from Mackay were coming in every Tuesday.

“There is no safety equipment to cater for commercial aircrafts,” resident Rowend Tait said.

“There are no water mains – the closest is about 1km away at the showgrounds.

“There is no fire safety equipment on site and the town has no full-time fire brigade.

“In the past it has only been used as a recreational airstrip… it was adequate for that and served the community well.”

Mr Tait said residents feared the emergence of mine charter flights would result in wear and tear on the unsealed airstrip and ratepayers would foot the bill.

“There is no doubt with the amount of planes coming in there will have to be some sort of upgrade… and council will not be able to justify spending money on the Capella airstrip when they plan to spend $11 million on an airport 50km away,” Mr Tate said.

CHRC general manager for commercial services Col Dziewicki said there were no plans to spend money on anything other than regular maintenance costs on the airstrip.

Mr Dziewicki said he was unaware of the increase in traffic.

Under the Civil Aviation Safety Authority guidelines, there is no requirement for the council to be aware of the traffic or perform any safety checks, because each charter plane, was carrying less than nine passengers.

He said there was a “low likelihood” it would result in extra maintenance costs.

CASA guidelines deem the pilot responsible for safety when they choose to land at non-registered or non-certified aerodromes, like Capella.

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