Jetgo has delayed the launch of its new Dubbo-Melbourne service after the regional carrier was unable to secure terminal space at Tullamarine and prevented from operating to Essendon Airport due to a lack of passenger screening facilities.
The new three times a week offering was due to begin in late October and run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays with 36-seat Embraer ERJ-135 regional jets.
However, Melbourne Tullamarine told the airline it could not accommodate the the airline at its new Terminal 4, which opened in August and is currently used by Tigerair Australia. Jetstar is due to move into the terminal on November 10, with Regional Express also due to move in at some stage.
When Jetgo sought to utilise Essendon Airport, it discovered that because its ERJ-135 regional jets had a maximum takeoff weight of 20,000kg, Office of Transport Security (OTS) regulations required there be passenger screening facilities available for its regular public transport (RPT) service.
Jetgo managing director for airlines Paul Bredereck said the airline had unsuccessfully sought a short-term exemption until the facilities at Essendon could be upgraded, given its aircraft was right on the maximum takeoff weight limit.
“It is the only 36-seat RPT aircraft in the country that requires security screening,” Bredereck told Australian Aviation.
“We initially expected that we could install security screening appropriate for that airport, and Jetgo would have amended its transport security plans.
“We thought that would have been a reasonably straightforward exercise. As it’s turned out, the process is more complicated than what we expected and OTS require significantly more work to be compliant with that.
“Essendon for us is a good option, we are quite happy to pay for the security screening that is required but OTS have indicated that their requirements are far more onerous than what we had originally expected.
“As a result that will take several months.”
Bredereck said Melbourne Airport told him there was no terminal access available at Tullamarine, given Terminals 1, 2 and 3 had no space and the new Terminal 4 was off-limits to new operators for a certain period of time.
The airline was also considering other short-term options while waiting for the Essendon Airport situation to be resolved.