Tamworth Region Mayor Col Murray said it will be a first today when Tamworth Regional Airport becomes an international terminal ready for the arrival of the Auckland Warriors National Rugby League team.
“Airport staff have been working with Australian Border Force staff who will travel from Newcastle to Tamworth this morning to manage immigration procedures for the charter flight from Auckland,” he said. “We have never had international passengers disembark here before.”
The charter flight is the only passenger flight arriving at Tamworth Regional Airport today and the terminal building will not be open to the public. Passengers will disembark and walk across the airport apron into the terminal. They will go though the customs process overseen by Australian Border Force, return airside to get on a bus and go to the Mercure Hotel escorted by local police.
“We have many NRL fans here in the Tamworth Region and they are certainly proud we can host the Warriors while they are in quarantine,” Cr Murray said. “It’s a small part to play in the process to restart the National Rugby League and we are pleased to have the right facilities to allow them to do it safely.
“There are some locals who are a little anxious about international travellers arriving here during the COVID-19 pandemic but health authorities have put very strict quarantine measures in place which the NRL and the Auckland Warriors have agreed to follow.
“I know our local police and health authorities will be monitoring things closely.”
Cr Murray said a big part of the reason the Warriors are coming to Tamworth for their 14-day mandatory quarantine is because they can stay completely in isolation.
“They will be based at the Mercure Hotel in the West Tamworth League Club precinct just a short walk across the carpark to the fully fenced Scully Park oval for training,” he said. “There is no reason for them to leave that confined area where there is everything they need.
“Of course, we are looking forward to a time when social distancing rules do not apply because the Warriors have agreed to return to Tamworth and spend time in our community running some programs including interacting with young players from local schools.”