The surveillance flight information service (SFIS) had been implemented in an area with known surveillance coverage limitations, resulting in the SFIS controller having no displayed positional information for the Caravan until it reached an altitude of about 1,500 feet. Therefore, during the period of conflict between the Caravan and B737, the controller was solely reliant on radio communications for situation awareness, reducing their ability to provide appropriate traffic and avoidance advice.
To be advised
Response by Airservices Australia
Airservices Australia (Airservices) advised that an internal project was scheduled to install an additional ADS‑B ground station, by 23 March 2023, to improve surveillance coverage in the vicinity of Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
Airservices further stated that the proposed installation was an outcome of a post‑implementation review, rather than proactive action in response to this occurrence.
The ATSB welcomes the intention to improve surveillance coverage in the airspace surrounding Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and will continue to monitor the progress of the proposed Airservices safety action to address this safety issue.
Additionally, the ATSB notes CASA’s Ballina airspace review recommends installation of an ADS‑B ground station by April 2023 and the transition to a controlled aerodrome service with an associated control zone and control area steps by 13 June 2024.