The Central Highlands Regional Council owns and operates the Emerald Airport which is located approximately 6km South of the Emerald along the Gregory Highway (Springsure Road).
There are also regular and ad-hoc fly-in fly-out (FIFO) mining and other charter flights in and out of Emerald operated by Alliance Airlines Fokker F-70s and F-100s on flights from and back to the Brisbane via the Sunshine Coast.
Finally, freight flights in and out of Emerald Airport are currently operated each weekday by General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) with one of their Dornier DO-228-202 aircraft operating from Brisbane via Biloela/Thangool and back to Brisbane sometimes via Rockhampton. While freight from Longreach and Barcaldine is flown to Emerald Airport by a General Aviation Maintenance (GAM) AeroCommander 500-S which is based at Emerald Airport.
At Emerald Airport itself, there is a large public car park located directly in front of the terminal building which has been significantly expanded and become a paid car park. There is no charge for the first half-hour use of the public car park and there are two automatic payment machines located on site. The carpark can become quite busy over the weekend, and so an additional long-term parking facility has been recently opened up, towards the Western edge of the airport. This is also a paid parking system with its own entry/exit gates and payment machine.
The actual Emerald Airport terminal building (shown below) has undergone significant redevelopment over the last few years, and now features a big check-in area, baggage conveyors including a new baggage collection facility, and a much larger passenger waiting and seating area. Security screening facilities have also been installed and are now fully operational. Qantas has also recently opened a Qantas Club Regional Lounge.
There has also been significant apron and taxiway works in recent months, with an undercover walkway added from the terminal building to the parking gates providing cover for passengers transiting from most flights. Sadly, this covered walkway has been built in front of some of the more prominent spotting locations - that being the terminal eating area and passenger waiting area (through security) - as well as the raised employee parking area - which no longer afford unobstructed views of aircraft parked and moving on the main Runway 06/24.
On the South-Western end of the new terminal (on the right side as you face the terminal), the Council has opened up a previously sectioned off area of fence line that has some views over the freight apron and nearby parking gates.
Visiting corporate bizjets generally park nearby, as do the above mentioned freight aircraft.
With a good mix of scheduled RPT, FIFO charter flights and General Aviation aircraft using Emerald Airport as a re-fuelling stop, Emerald Airport can be a nice little airport for spotters!