MILDURA Airport CEO Trevor Willcock

LAST week Mildura Airport was shrouded in heavy fog, delaying flights and further impacting on the already heavily-reduced schedule in out and out of the city.

“We had two flights delayed and one return to Melbourne in the recent fog,” Mildura Airport CEO Trevor Willcock, said.

 “It makes a strong case for the installation of an ILS (Instrument Landing System) which would have allowed two of those flights to land.”

Mr Willcock is looking forward to the much anticipated arrival of the $4million ILS to be installed at the Mildura Airport, preliminary work for which it’s hoped will begin soon with no delays due to the COVID-19 situation being anticipated.

“The ILS is still on schedule. The preliminary work will begin once the order for the equipment is placed because it will then take three to four months to assemble the equipment in Norway, prior to it being shipped to Australia, providing there are no issues on the manufacturer’s side,” Mr Willcock said.

“It’s hoped by the latter part of this year the installation of the hardware will then commence and by the end of 2021 the ILS is expected to be fully operational.”

While the deployment of an ILS at the Mildura Airport won’t allow for aircraft to land and take off in zero visibility, it will assist pilots when conditions of low visibility and heavy weather are present in the vicinity of the airport. 

In June 2013, Virgin and Qantas flights 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 fog-laden when they
arrived in the area.

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.