Townsville Airport will soon have its own Australian Border Force (ABF) staff and permanent passenger processing facilities for international flights as the clock ticks down towards Jetstar’s inaugural service from the North Queensland city to Bali.
Jetstar’s three times a week Townsville-Bali flights to Bali with Airbus A320s is due to take off from September 2 and is the first international route from the airport.
Federal Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton was in Townsville on Friday to launch a recruitment drive for ABF staff to work at the airport.
Dutton said he expected 12 positions would be required in Townsville to process international passengers arrivals and departures.
“The ABF provides for the flexible deployment of trained officers to airports as need arises. However we will be employing some locally-based staff in the time ahead,” Dutton said in a statement.
“We are listening to and working with local industry to provide an international airport facility that meets international aviation standards.
“The ability for Townsville Airport to now offer ongoing international flights will boost local business and help create jobs for the long term and emphasises this Government’s commitment to develop northern Australia.”
In addition to ABF staff, Townsville Airport is also receiving upgrades such as an extensive CCTV network, electronic examination and substance detection facilities and biometric technology, the Minister said in a statement. Previously, these were brought to Townsville on a temporary basis for any international services.
Canberra gave Townsville Airport the go-ahead for international flights in February, when the federal government agreed to support passenger processing at the airport.
The government allocated $26.2 million over four years, including $6.9 million in capital funding to establish permanent border clearance services at Townsville and Sunshine Coast airports.