Whitsundays Coast Airport hosts Regional Airports Symposium
THE WHITSUNDAYS hosted regional airport heavy hitters from around Australia last week.
Three Consulting managing director Jayne Davey said more than 40 delegates attended the Regional Airports Symposium at the Coral Sea Resort on Friday.
Whitsunday Regional Council general manager for Whitsunday airports and commercial infrastructure, Brian Joiner, was a keynote speaker at the event.
Mr Joiner said the conference was a great opportunity to host airport professionals in the region to discuss common areas of concern, which included trying to grow airports, and being able to include more services for the community.
"Other airports want more amenities, whereas our airport is focused now on getting people into the region," he said.
Talking points at the conference included destination development, lessons learnt from boom and bust cycles, impacts of new security measures and air freight at regional airports.
Mrs Davey said the Whitsunday Coast Airport was unique, in the sense that the holiday started from the minute people arrived at the airport as they were welcomed with an aquarium.
"The Whitsundays is a bit different to other airports, because there is a massive inbound market," she said.
Newman Airport in the Pilbara region is a different story Mrs Davey added, as that airport is targeted to a fly in and fly out market, and its challenges included keeping abreast of the boom and bust cycles mining town airports faced.
"Regional airports are so varied, quite often there are challenges to secure the necessary funding to support terminal and runway development, and then of course getting airlines to come and service your destination," she said.
Mrs Davey used Bendigo Airport in regional Victoria as another example of airport diversity. Bendigo lies two hours northwest of Melbourne, but has just secured Qantas Link services, easing travel time for residents of the regional centre, and of course opening it up as a destination.
"There's a real need for regional airports to service their local passengers," Mrs Davey said.