And as has been typical since the Vulture Capitalists took over the airport operation, the Cairns Airport CEO has taken to the media to defend their failure to even meet the binding requirements under their agreement with the Queensland Government. Kevin Brown has said that 'Cairns Airport takes road and pedestrian safety seriously'. He goes on to say that Cairns Airport has . . .'introduced enhancements over and above requirements to improve overall safety".
This is patently untrue. The Development Agreement that the AIRPORT prepared says specifically that "Sealed pathways for pedestrians and bicycles (must be) provided". THEY HAVE NEVER DONE SO, AND STILL REFUSE TO HONOR THIS AGREEMENT. Instead they get Mayor "Sleepy" Bob Manning to install a sign that warns pedestrians not to walk to the airport. MP Craig Crawford STILL refuses to respond to queries about the ALP government's failure to enforce the agreement in this respect.
However other serious problems at the Cairns Airport are starting to come to light.
We have been receiving persistent reports from airport workers of severe underground leaks of Jet-A (kerosene), the fuel used for refueling aircraft. The primary area of leakage is around the tarmac area of the international terminal just a few hundred meters from the Barron River!
Airport staff indicate that the leaks have been underway for
over 2 years, with an estimated 30k-40k litres of fuel "missing". Since first reported to the airport executive there have been areas of the tarmac dug up, pipes have been rewelded, and other high-tech methods have been undertaken. However the smell of Jet-A fuel is still prevalent around drains and and open grills.
We've contacted both the Cairns Airport and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. The airport has refused to respond, and the CASA said "they'd get back to us". However public discussion of the problem can wait no longer.
This area of the airport is very close to the water table, and pumps are often used in low-lying areas to pump the water out. Can a flooding incident involving the Barron River wash raw fuel into the ocean? Where is all the contaminated ground?
Why has airport management not taken this problem seriously?
Many are unaware of the community importance of a thriving General Aviation precinct. General aviation (which are all the hangars and shops that line the Cook Highway on the west side of the airport have light aircraft used for pilot training, service business and corporate aircraft (including the state-owned jet belonging to the Premier), rescue helicopters, police services, and maintenance shops. A whole range of services and economic activity. However the Cairns Airport has long coveted this land for retail and commercial buildings - even though there is ZERO demand for these facilities.
Last year Beagle Airways was forced out of the airport when their $264 access charge was raised to over $18,000 per year! They were told to "go to Mareeba Airport". While CEO Kevin Brown has suggested that they are planning a new precinct for these facilities on the east side of the airport (behind the car rental yards), they have done ZERO investment in this area. And yet they continue to drive out these users as their leases come due.
And while the Vulture Capitalists in New York that own our airport continually boast about their "$1 Billion Development Plan", we can't even get them to honour their responsibility to build a fucking footpath along Airport Drive.
And now the plan to remove the popular mangrove boardwalk has emerged, with Bob "Sleepy" Manning quoted as saying he would "prefer" it remain. This guy has no backbone at all.
Here's hoping a nice crowd turns out on the 24th to honour Dinah Boughton and hopefully bring traffic on Airport Drive to a halt for a few hours - in the spirit of activists everywhere. Peaceful protest about the carpetbaggers stealing Cairns blind at this place is long overdue.