Despite a steady overall increase in passenger numbers and a mixture of types of operations, Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport did not have traffic advisory and/or air traffic control facilities capable of providing timely information to the crews of VH-EWL and VH-VQS of the impending traffic conflict. It is likely the absence of these facilities, which have been shown to provide good mitigation at other airports with similar traffic levels, increased the risk of a mid-air conflict in the Ballina area.
The ATSB is satisfied that the implementation of the CA/GRS will adequately address the potential for mid-air conflict identified in the safety issue.
The operator of Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport gained approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to implement of a certified air/ground radio service (CA/GRS) to provide weather services and traffic information at the airport. This service commenced operation in March 2017. The CASA Office of Airspace Regulation is planning to assess its effectiveness via a post‑implementation review in mid-2017.