Security checks will no longer be required at up to 13 regional airports, whose management teams have been authorised to remove them as part of cost cutting measures.

The changes recognise the fact that in up to 50 regional airports, passengers are not be scanned and their luggage is not checked, including for flights into state capitals. Critics of scanning say the financial burden is too great for small airports to bear.

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has not revealed which airports are impacted by the changes, though they are known to be those which have less than 30,000 departures annually and which support flights of less than 40 passengers.

“In recognition of the cost impacts of new technology upgrades on critical regional aviation services the government has allocated $A50.1 million to assist eligible regional airports to upgrade their security screening equipment,” said a Department of Home Affairs spokesperson.

“Some small, regional and remote airports have been identified as no longer meeting the threshold to be security controlled. They will still be subject to safety and other regulatory requirements.”

Meanwhile, security consultant and former director of security for QANTAS, Geoff Askew, told The Guardian that for any regular public transport aircraft, every passenger should be screened.

“They should be screened at the same standard in Longreach as they are in Sydney,” Askew said. “Why is the risk any less if they’re on a 36-seater or a jumbo…the global publicity for their cause, which is what terrorists want, would be exactly the same.”