Avalon Airport is not just dangerous because of the sporadic manning of the control tower.
An A320 departing Avalon with a bomb on board will make as big a bang as one that flies from Tullamarine, which is now supposed to have 100% screening like the other capital city airports.
Calls to Jetstar went unreturned this morning, but this anomaly has been tolerated ever since the highly successful and fast-growing Qantas subsidiary began flights in June 2004.
But there is a deeper issue of culture wars at play here.
Part of Qantas seems to detest Jetstar and its customers even though the low-fare carrier’s contribution to its viability is acknowledged as crucial by its management (as recently as during interviews after last week’s annual profits announcement).
How else to explain Qantas having the Avalon tower manned when its jets use the airport for maintenance or training purposes but leaving the rapidly growing flow of budget travellers to mix it with small aircraft without internationally acceptable standards of traffic direction and separation?
Jetstar is branded in the market as a carrier with Qantas standards. Until the security and air space standards applied to Qantas customers are extended to Jetstar passengers this claim, at least as far as Avalon is concerned, is untrue.
Qantas implicitly puts a lower value on the lives and safety of Jetstar customers.