INSTALLATION of a $4million Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Mildura Airport will soon commence, now that the Federal Government’s $2million contribution is in place, which together with co-contributions of $1million each from the Mildura Rural City Council and the Mildura Airport Corporation, means the project is about to fly!

The ILS will deliver a number of significant benefits to both the commercial and general aviation sectors, and importantly, enhance the safety levels at the airport, particularly during inclement weather conditions.

In making the announcement today, Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, who had pushed hard for the ILS during the election campaign last year, said that she was excited that the $2million in federal funding had been finalised.

“This means that the Mildura Airport can now install the ILS, which was a key campaign promise prior to the election in Mallee last year,” she said.

“It means that the safety of regional flying is further enhanced, which is a very positive measure.”

Mildura Airport chair, Peter O’Donnell (PICTURED left) said he expects work to prepare for the installation to commence shortly.

“Civil works will get underway soon and take several months to complete, and in the interim, the equipment will be ordered,” he said.

“I am hoping that by the latter part of this year we will actually commence the installation of the hardware, and by the end of 2021, it will be fully operational.”

Airport CEO, Trevor Willcock said that the equipment associated with the ILS wouldn’t be readily visible, but would include some antennas located near the runways.

“There will also be two container like structures that will house all of the equipment, one of which, will be sunk into the ground, the other will be at ground level,” he said.

“There will also be an area within a building we currently have, that will house the ground monitoring of the equipment.”

While the ILS being deployed at the Mildura Airport won’t allow for aircraft to land and take off in zero visibility conditions, it will nonetheless assist pilots when conditions of low visibility and heavy rain are present around the airport.

In June 2013, a Virgin and Qantas flight were diverted to Mildura due to fog closing Adelaide Airport. However, both aircraft were forced to circle the Mildura Airport for an extended period of time, because it too was shrouded in fog when they arrived. As a result, the Virgin aircraft ran dangerously low on fuel, and eventually had to land, regardless of the risk. Fortunately everything ended well for both aircraft and their passengers on that occasion.