Passengers will be able to take advantage of the first stage of Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport’s upgrade next month.
It is expected that by Wednesday 1 June, passengers will have access to a new check-in area, an expanded departure lounge, and a new baggage security and handling system for checked luggage.
But the first stage won’t be properly put through its paces until July because Jetstar has reduced its number of scheduled flight to Proserpine for the winter. The airport has gone from having seven weekly Jetstar flights to just four for the month of June.
A Jetstar spokesperson said the change in schedule was because of a lack of passenger demand – despite the dry season being the region’s peak travel period. Jetstar has also reduced its flights to Hamilton Island Airport by six flights a week in May and June. The spokesperson also said the flight schedule would however return to normal in time for the school holidays in June/July.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh flew into the Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport on Wednesday 18 May in Raytheon B300 Super King Air VH-SGQ to inspect stage one of the upgrade. She said the improvements were an investment in the tourism industry in the Whitsundays.
Unfortunately, the unusually wetter than normal wet season has put construction behind schedule with the new estimated completion dates for the complete upgrade put back to late August / early September.
Meanwhile, a mini-van was converted into a make-believe aeroplane at the Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport last Saturday 14 May as part of their emergency plan drill.
Emergency service workers from police, the fire brigade and SES, and airport personnel took part in a role-play emergency where a taxiing plane ran into a maintenance vehicle on the runway.
Local volunteers acted as passengers and some had to pretend they had burns, broken bones, spinal injuries and fractures.
The drill formed part of the airport’s bi-annual test of the airport emergency plan as part of the airport’s obligation under the Civil Aviation Regulations.