Counting the costs of airport security

TONIGHT the Dubbo City councillors meet to discuss a draft revenue policy for the full recovery of passenger and checked baggage screening costs at Dubbo City Regional Airport.

For the past fortnight, the stoush between Regional Express (REX) and Dubbo City Council has intensified.

QantasLink will soon introduce a Q400 aircraft which can seat 25 more passengers than its current Q300 aircraft. It would also be faster than its predecessor.

As a result of the aircraft upgrade, security screening of the larger aircraft will begin next Monday.

However, as the size of the REX aircraft remains the same, its passengers will also be screened before they board their flight. The only problem is REX passengers don’t have to be screened.

REX, understandably so, spoke up and called on its customers to band together and campaign against the council-imposed passenger security charge.

The Regional Aviation Association of Australia backed REX’s protests and asked council to repeal its decision immediately.

Dubbo Mayor Mathew Dickerson said he would not be moved by the number of petitions and added safety as his, and council’s, only concern.

If it comes to pass, REX passengers will be subsidising QantasLink to the tune of $300,000 every year which works out to be about nine dollars per departing passenger.

More than 70 petitions have been received and 78.1 per cent of people have backed REX’s campaign.

A frequent flyer said: “To me this is a very blatant attempt to extort money from REX passengers that do not legally have to be screened.”

Time will indeed tell, as there is exactly one week until passengers are screened. The question still remains: will REX be involved?

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