Photo & story Hans Lovejoy
What power do local councils have to stop flights on an airfield they manage if they believe the runway is unsafe?
Not much, if last Friday’s busy skydiving operations are any indication.
Despite a sign erected by Byron Shire Council advising of the Tyagarah airstrip being closed, Byron Bay Skydive have continued to fly from the runway, despite the disapproval of some fellow users of the field who say it’s the skydive plane causing the damage.
But according to its CEO Adrian Kennedy they have since relocated flight take-offs and landings to Ballina.
Mr Kennedy says he believes that it’s a management issue rather than a safety one.
‘We have informally managed the runway for many years,’ he told Echonetdaily, and as for safety issues he says, ‘We would never jeopardise our unblemished safety record.’
Meanwhile, a media spokesperson from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) confirmed with Echonetdaily that as Tyagarah airstrip is not registered or certified with them, ‘The decision on using an airstrip rests with the pilot in command’.
‘If it is safe to use it they can, if not, they should not,’ the CASA spokesperson said.