The arrest and charging of the man follows an Australian Federal Police (AFP)-led investigation with the assistance of Airservices Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Victoria Police.
The AFP alleges that between 5 September and 3 November, there were 16 separate unauthorised radio transmissions at Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport causing interference with air traffic control.
On 21 November, the AFP arrested a man and subsequently charged him with:
• Four counts of endangering aircraft contrary to section (25) 2 b of the Crimes (Aviation) Act 1991 (Cth) and one count of interference likely to endanger safety or cause loss of damage contrary to Section 194 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (Cth)
The man was scheduled to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon.
The AFP’s head of Crime Operations, acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan, said this arrest demonstrates how law enforcement takes the safety of the airline industry very seriously.
“The current security measures in place for the airline industry are robust, and the traveling public should be reassured we are treating this matter appropriately.
“These incidents were thoroughly investigated by the AFP with the technical support of Airservices and the ACMA.
“The offences this 19-year-old man faces carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
“The AFP also acknowledges the close working relationship with Qantas and Virgin Australia Group and the assistance provided particularly during the early stages of the investigation,” he said.
Airservices said there is no current threat to the safety and security of the travelling public as a result of the alleged radio transmissions in Victoria.
“Airservices worked closely with the AFP throughout this investigation to ensure the safety and security of the travelling public,” Airservices Southern Operations manager Steven Clarke said.
“Airservices has appropriate procedures, processes and systems in place to ensure the safety of aviation operations at Melbourne and Avalon airports, and across the country and for the travelling public.”
The ACMA uses a range of technologies and techniques to investigate and locate the sources of unauthorised or interfering transmissions across the radio frequency spectrum, and the authority has reminded members of the public that making unauthorised transmissions may constitute a serious offence under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (Cth).