Airservices VS The Australian

Thu 09 Jul

In an open letter to The Australian, following the publishing of two articles related to cuts, Executive General Manager of Corporate and Industry Affairs, Mairi Barton hits back:


Dear Mr Mathieson,

This week two articles in The Australian, ‘Pilots told to switch off $6m radar system’ (Monday 6 July 2015) and ‘Rural flyers in revolt over bid to scrap beacon’ (Tuesday 7 July 2015) continue to make inaccurate and misleading claims about Airservices and aviation safety in Australia.

These articles imply that decisions by Airservices have reduced safety for the flying public, which is incorrect and damaging to the reputation of Airservices.

It is incorrect and misleading to suggest that the Tasmanian Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) system reduces air safety in Tasmania. This successful project provides surveillance better than that previously provided by radar over Tasmania. It also provides additional coverage at lower levels at Hobart than previously possible with a Launceston-based radar. It is false and irresponsible to assert that air traffic control services which do not use radar are considered inefficient and not safe.

It is also misleading to imply that Airservices made a cost-based decision on which navigation aids to maintain as part of the back-up navigation network. This network of ground-based navigation aids was selected by industry working groups in 2004 and formed part of consultations undertaken by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Airservices has subsequently been working to implement these industry-supported decisions and continues to consult closely with stakeholders.

Satellite-based technology that is available today, and will be required to be fitted to most passenger aircraft from 2016, ensures that pilots are better able to navigate Australia’s skies, providing safety and efficiency benefits.

We have responded to numerous questions from your journalist on both of these issues over several days. Despite extensive information being provided by Airservices, these articles do not give a fair and balanced perspective, which is contrary to News Limited’s own Code of Conduct.

We ask that you refrain from repeating these inaccurate and misleading claims and publish corrections at the earliest opportunity.

Safety remains Airservices number one priority. Airservices is among the best in the world for our safety performance and we continue to work with industry to deliver safety enhancements.

Yours sincerely


Mairi Barton
Executive General Manager
Corporate and Industry Affairs
8 July 2015