Friday, February 18, 2011

New Emerald Airport Terminal Officially Opened

The Central Highlands Regional Council revealed a case of “terminal optimism” in the economic outlook of the region with the official opening of its $7.7 million expansion of the Emerald airport last Wednesday 9 February.

The airport is set to soar to new heights with a passenger record of 170,000 expected this year.

State Local Government Minister Desley Boyle said, “The Central Highlands region is growing steadily and traffic through Emerald airport is expected to increase in line with that growth. The work (at the airport) includes a conveyor baggage system for drop-off and pick-up, a new check-in area, office space including a pilot lounge, upgrades to the amenities as well as additional security including passenger metal detection facilities. These are all the facilities that a modern airport requires and certainly it will be a major boon for business travellers involved in the resource and citrus sectors.

The airport staff also came in for much praise from the Council for keeping the airport operational during the recent flooding.

With talks already underway to attract a second major carrier to Emerald, Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Peter Maguire said a potential change in federal safety compliance laws could necessitate another $6-7 million being spent on the airport to widen the runway from 30 metres to 45 metres to enable jet landings.

The Council is also considering committing another $4 million to the upgrading of Pilot Farm Rd and the construction of a new entrance to the airport.

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