Australian Airports to Test New Access Control System for Pilots

TESTING of an Australian-first security system will start at Moorabbin Airport this year.

The access system is designed to provide easier entry for pilots into the airport, as well as monitoring, and is part of a gradual step up of security at the site.

Pilots will be able to use any card in their wallet that has a magnetic strip even a video library card to gain access into the public section of the airport.

They will also be able to use the same card to re-enter the airport for take-off or collecting goods from their aircraft.

After using the card, identification details are entered to gain access.

If the trial is successful, it is likely to be used in similar airports around Australia.

Federal Senator Kay Patterson visited the airport in December to view some of the improvements taking place.

The Government announced in October it would commit $663,800 to Moorabbin Airport for the installation of fencing, security signage and the access control system, which includes vehicle and pedestrian gate access.

Moorabbin Airport general manager of aviation Phil McConnell said while targeting the threat of terrorism, the security measures were more about tackling the day-to-day risk of vandalism and theft.

''The average thief is going to think twice about coming out here,'' Mr McConnell he said.

Fencing of the airport is three-quarters of the way through and a new closed circuit TV system covering all areas of the airport is also being tested.

''Upgrades usually come at significant cost to individual operators but, thanks to this program, regional airports won't need to pass on their additional security costs to aircraft carriers, who in turn won't need to pass it on to passengers,'' Senator Patterson said.