IT may officially be a senior citizen but as Dubbo airport celebrated its 80th birthday it showed no signs of slowing down.
“Some of the numbers we’re putting through are fantastic - last year we had 186,203 passengers go through the airport, our second best year after 2007/8 where there were 193,125,” Dubbo Mayor Mathew Dickerson said.
“We’re tracking at 4 per cent growth so if that continues we’ll hit almost 194,000 by the end of this year, that would be a record.”
Airport operations manager Lindsay Mason joined the Mayor on Wednesday morning to cut a celebratory cake.
The airport was officially opened on April 29, 1935 and the first service was a Western Air Service plane that flew from Trangie to Dubbo to collect passengers for the forward journey to Sydney.
Cr Dickerson said major milestones for the airport included the opening of a major expansion and the start of security screening.
As he cut the cake, the Mayor made a wish for direct air services from Dubbo to capitals including Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.
“The message from QantasLink is their push is towards larger aircraft so they’re more likely to partner with someone who runs smaller aircraft,” he said.
“We’ll keep talking with a number of airlines, which we have done in the past to see how we can try to facilitate that. We have fantastic infrastructure but we can’t make airlines fly to other airports.”
Mr Mason, who had spent a decade working at the airport, said he was proud of the way it had grown.
“In the last 10 years we’ve grown about 70,000 passengers, it’s been rapid but great for Dubbo, it’s only going to get bigger.”
Meanwhile the airport had launched an appeal for members of the public to come forward with any old photos, articles or memorabilia of the airport that could be copied and returned.
“We are keen to preserve the airport’s rich history to possibly use in displays around the airport,” Mr Mason said.
“Things like, at one stage Dubbo was considered as the second international airport for Sydney and we were locked in battle with Narromine over who should get it. There are a lot of urban myths about car headlights lighting up the runway in the past, and it’s actually true.”
Contributions to the collection could be made by emailing photos to email@example.com or contacting Joanne Wallbridge on 02 6801 4000.