Passenger screening to go at eight regional airports

It will no longer be mandatory to screen passengers at some regional airports under new Commonwealth rules being rolled out on 19 December.

The new federal regulations follow a review of the risk profiles of airports conducted by the Department of Home Affairs.

As a result, the department is introducing a new “tier” framework which will allow some airports to discontinue security screening but require others to increase their security measures.

It is understood eight regional airports will be able to cease screening under the new regulations, while 13 airports will be required to upgrade security arrangements.

Two Queensland airports, Longreach and Barcaldine, have already stopped screening passengers after gaining departmental dispensation for an early start to the new regulations.

Queensland Airports Ltd, which owns and operates Longreach Airport, successfully sought an exemption to cease screening on November 1 due to its security contract expiring on October 31.

The Barcaldine Regional Council was granted a similar exemption when flights to and from the town’s airport resumed in August following the easing of Queensland lockdown measures.

Commonwealth-mandated airport security measures have proved controversial in recent years because of the costs imposed on smaller council-owned airports.

A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs said the new framework “better reflects the operational diversity and range of security risks faced by Australian airports while recognising the changing security environment”.