$5.1 million allows airport project to take off
COFFS Harbour Regional Airport has secured $5.1 million in State Government funding for upgrades.
The grant will support vital infrastructure upgrades, including extensions to the runway apron and upgraded terminal facilities.
Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said Coffs Harbour Airport played a crucial role in the long-term viability and growth of the Coffs Harbour economy and was an essential entry point to the region, providing services to more than 350,000 passengers annually.
"With these new funds committed to a range of upgrades, critical improvements can be made that will greatly enhance the capability for the airport to accommodate more aircraft traffic and tourism to the region," he said.
"This funding represents a significant investment and will not only improve air services, but it is expected to increase visitor expenditure by $10 million annually."
Mr Fraser said the upgraded facilities should draw interest from airlines and may lead to additional services.
"I think we all recognise the fact Brisbane is fast becoming of great interest to the Coffs Harbour community.
"We need to encourage the airlines to give us a fast, regular and cheap service up to Brisbane and return.
"We did have flights (to Brisbane in the past) but I think they were over-priced.
"What we do have now is an airport community that's talking to the major airlines and trying to get them interested in giving us a regular service up to Brisbane."
Mayor Denise Knight echoed Mr Fraser's hopes the development would lead to a Coffs Harbour-Brisbane service.
"We've already had extra flights added to Coffs Harbour which is an amazing thing," she said.
"It's all about promoting the airport and promoting Coffs Harbour.
"At the moment we're striving to get flights to Brisbane.
"If we upgrade the apron and we upgrade the tarmac and we upgrade the airport, it'll make it appealing for another carrier to come in."
Of the $5.1 million in funding, $3.1 million will be used to upgrade the aircraft parking apron, and $2 million will be used to upgrade the arrival and departure terminals, including providing additional toilets, extra check-in counters, and extending the terminal north.
The project was one of 17 funded by the State Government, Minister for Regional Development John Barilaro said.
"By funding regional airport infrastructure we're making a long term investment to improve services for residents and to support airports with the greatest capacity to increase visitor numbers to regional NSW."