Tennant Creek Airport is not a certified airport, which means that aircraft with greater than 30 seats are not permitted to operate there.
The contractor engaged to build the Northern Gas Pipeline desired the use of larger aircraft to cost effectively support its FIFO workforce sustainment arrangements.
Rather than apply for an aerodrome certificate, Tennant Creek Airport Pty Ltd preferred to apply for a temporary exemption from the requirement, and engaged Aviation Projects to prepare a safety case in support of its application.
The safety case included a review of the external regulatory context, the airport's organisation structure, facilities and equipment, compliance program and the intended aircraft operations, a gap analysis of operational procedures against the requirements applicable to a certified aerodrome and a detailed risk assessment.
As a result of the risk assessment, a set of actions applicable to facilities and equipment, operational procedures, the Aerodrome Manual and operations and maintenance were recommended as conditions of the exemption.
The exemption, which had no precedent, was subsequently issued and the FIFO operations were able to commence.
Tennant Creek Airport was awarded Australian Airports Association 2017 Small Regional Airport of the Year for achieving the exemption and associated enhancements to its terminal and services.