Plans for airport’s future discussed

A RECOMMENDATION to Monday evening’s full council meeting will call on the city’s elected officials to approve a draft revenue policy for the full recovery of passenger and checked baggage screening costs at the regional airport.

On Thursday evening council’s director of corporate services Ken Rogers and mayor Mathew Dickerson delivered a presentation on the potential growth the airport faced to members of the Dubbo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Rogers said in the market of the past decade, passenger growth had risen 60 per cent and, with the addition of passenger security screening, the airport has been upgraded to a category three facility, which attracted larger aircraft in the form of eight flights a week of the Q400 turbo prop aircraft. 

These planes have seating capacity for 25 passengers more than the Q300 planes currently in service and were faster, cutting 15 minutes off the flying time to Sydney.

In the 2011/2012 financial year 171,739 passengers passed in and out of Dubbo and of those fliers, 75 per cent were undertaking business and corporate affairs.

Mr Rogers and Cr Dickerson also answered questions posed by chamber members regarding the draft proposal to pass on to both Qantas and Regional Express Airlines, on a pro-rata basis, the security screening costs.

Cr Dickerson said it had been decided by the council to charge both airlines for screening as the council needed to meet the annual operational costs of $806,293.91to run the security screening for passengers and luggage.

He said based on last year’s inward and outward passenger numbers, this would cost both airlines the sum of $4.69 a passenger.

“If those numbers were to increase to 200,000 a year then the screening cost would be just $4 a passenger,” Cr Dickerson said.

Also on display was the extension plan, which will result in the doubling of the area where the passengers and their families could wait once the security screening was undertaken. Screening was expected to begin on March 4.

Mr Rogers said a tender for the extension is expected to be announced to begin construction works in the near future. Plans are already on display.

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