Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he is pleased CASA seems to be giving the green light to REX continuing services into Coober Pedy until the strip can be widened.
After ruling the Coober Pedy airstrip must widen its runway from 18 to 30 metres to meet aviation regulations on Friday the 29th August, CASA informed REX that beyond Nov 13th Rex could not land at the airstrip in cross winds of 10 knots or more, effectively bringing the service to a halt from November 13.
“I have now been advised CASA has committed to allow the service to continue irrespective of the proposed legislative changes beyond the November 13 deadline previously set, even though there appears to be a small ambiguity in their language that REX is seeking clarification of before committing to an ongoing service.” he said.
“It now seems clear CASA is insisting on the strip being widened. If CASA had been clearer in their intent and language through the last nine months it is highly likely we may have had the problem fixed by now.
“However up until their communication in late August I had always believed they would allow for the continuation of service on a strip that has been perfectly adequate for the last 27 years.
“CASA is an independent body beyond the control of government, and I thank the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Jamie Briggs, for his efforts over the last few weeks to bring urgent attention to this problem.
“I am hoping that in the very near future REX will confirm with CASA that they are clear to continue the service and I will be pressuring Warren Truss for a substantial contribution from the Commonwealth to help the Coober Pedy Council with the upgrade.
“This vital service simply must continue and is hugely important for the town of Coober Pedy.”