Instrument Landing System (ILS)

Great news Mildura!

Mildura Airport is considering the installation of an Instrument Landing System (ILS) on the main runway.

The ILS will greatly enhance pilots ability to land their aircraft in poor weather conditions and provide another level of safety at our airport.

Installation is planned for later this year.

For further information on the ILS please see our ILS FAQs below and if you would like to submit a question on the ILS please use the “Contact us” button.


An Instrument Landing System (“ILS”) is a highly accurate radio signal navigation aid consisting of two antennas which transmit signals to receivers in the aircraft cockpit — a glide path tower located next to the runway at one end and a localiser antenna at the other end.

These antennas provide the pilot with vertical and horizontal guidance when landing in low visibility. An ILS’s precise nature ensures also separation of aircraft in congested airspace1.


Questions and Facts

Q. Is the ILS old technology?

FACT: The ILS technology has been the global technology to assist the pilot to make safe landings in poor weather conditions for quite some time and while there are plans to replace it with more GPS based navigation, ILS technology is still the recognised technology for conducting a precision landing used in airports all over the world and will remain in place for the next 10-15 years covering the life of the Mildura ILS.

Q. What other landing technologies are there? How widely are they used? Why don’t we put these in?

FACT: Mildura Airport already has the following navigation and landing aids: RNAV, NDB, GNSS, DVOR. These are widely used but the addition of the ILS technology will greatly enhance our safety as it allows pilots to land in very low visibility however they do not provide the precision that ILS does.

Q. There are different types of ILS – which one are we proposing? Why is this the appropriate one for Mildura?

FACT: Mildura Airport is installing a category 1 ILS. 90% of Australian airports that have an ILS have a category 1 ILS and only a few large international airports have a category 2 or 3 ILS.

Higher standard category ILS’s are used at major airports such as Sydney and they require a higher level of maintenance and calibration as they allow a pilot to land in very low visibility conditions.

A Category 1 ILS is ideal for Mildura given the known weather conditions and the types of aircraft using Mildura Airport

Q. Which runway is it being installed on and at which end?

FACT: It is being installed on the primary runway (runway 09/27) and will be active on the 09 end.

Q. What is the expected Life of the ILS?

FACT: An ILS should have an expected life span of 15-20 years provided that it is properly maintained.

This is in line with Mildura airport’s long-term asset management planning.

Q. What are the annual maintenance costs?

FACT: The annual maintenance costs are expected to be in the region of $100,000. We are and will continue to explore opportunities to reduce this cost.

Q. How will the maintenance be paid for?

FACT: Any aircraft using the ILS technology will be required to pay a usage fee, usually in the region of $50 per time.

Q. Are the ratepayers of Mildura paying for the ongoing maintenance costs?

FACT: No – the maintenance costs will be covered by the users of the ILS.

Q. Will the ILS increase the number of planes visiting Mildura and increase air traffic?

FACT: Yes there will be an increase in air traffic due to the ILS but these aircraft will not be permitted to do circuit training.

Q. Will an increase in air traffic cause noise and safety issues?

FACT: There will some additional noise on the regular flight path but as these aircraft are not permitted to conduct circuit training they will only fly directly into the airfield on the prescribed flight paths. As always safety is our number one priority and we will continue to monitor any changes in traffic to ensure we meet our regulatory and safety objectives.

Q. What is the economic benefit to the region of having an ILS?

FACT: The Mildura economy stands to benefit by over $350 million over the next 10 years due to the installation of the ILS which will retain the flight school in Mildura and enhance passenger aircraft safety.

Q. Will the commercial aircraft ie Qantas, Rex and Virgin use the ILS?

FACT: Yes – in poor weather conditions and for emergencies. The ILS is available for suitably equipped aircraft and is a significant safety enhancement for the airlines, their passengers and crew, the airport and the region.

Q. Will the increase in aircraft from the ILS cause safety issues for Qantas, Rex and Virgin and hence the broader community?

FACT: No – these aircraft will only fly the prescribed flight paths and will not be permitted to conduct circuit training. Use of the ILS will only be permitted during non-passenger aircraft arrival and departure times.

Pilots of these companies are very familiar with the procedures associated with an ILS as it is a commonly used navigation system across Australia and globally.

Q. Would the ILS proposed for Mildura have helped the planes with the fog in 20xx and their emergency landing?

FACT: The Category 1 ILS will assist pilots to land in foggy conditions but it does have limitations ie the pilots will still need to meet minimum visibility distances, prescribed by CASA the safety regulator, to be able to land. These standards are related to the base of the cloud and visibility.

Q. Other communities have had issues with the increased air traffic and noise from installing an ILS has this been considered in the context of Mildura?

FACT: Yes – due to Mildura’s remote location we do not anticipate a large number of aircraft using the ILS.

Q. Has a risk assessment been undertaken for the installation of an ILS?

FACT: Yes a risk assessment has been completed and safety performance of the ILS will be included in the regular safety assessments and reports to the Airport executive and Board.

Q. Has / does community consultation need to occur for the installation of the ILS?

FACT: No – the airport is not required to consult with the community when installing an ILS however because this is such an important safety enhancement for passengers, operators and the airport we will make information available on our website.

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