Airport a regional asset
COFFS Harbour Regional Airport can be viewed as a benchmark regional facility, an air services report has indicated.
A report into rural and regional Australia airports by the Australian Airports Association found almost 70% are serviced by just one airline, whereas Coffs Harbour is home to three airline services.
Coffs Harbour City Council's Regional Airport manager Dennis Martin said the real advantage here in Coffs Harbour is that the airport is profitable and unlike other north coast airports has been upgraded in recent years.
Grafton on the other hand was one regional airport acknowledged in the report as facing air service and upgrade issues.
The last regional airport review coincides with an announcement that the Federal Government will distribute $4.9 million to country facilities for essential security upgrades.
"The cost of maintaining regional airports is very high," AAA executive director Caroline Wilkie said.
"There are substantial costs associated with maintaing runways, taxiways, aprons, navigational aids, refuelling and ground handling services," Ms Wilkie said.
"About 55% of regional airports run at a loss, but remain open in order to provide a social service.
Ms Wilkie said the vast majority of regional airports, like the Coffs Harbour facility, are run by local councils and receive very little funding, but are frequently needed to improve facilities.