RESIDENTS are in an uproar over the imminent closure of Blackwater airport.
Among those struggling to come to terms with the news Qantas flights will cease from Monday, August 16, is mother-of-two Claire Swaffield.
Claire relies on the service to take her 15-month-old son Lucas, who has cerebral palsy, to specialist appointments in Brisbane.
BMA announced this week the airport was no longer viable due to poor patronage, but would remain open to emergency medical users such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
“We fly out of Blackwater a lot to go for operations and check-ups in Brisbane,” said Claire.
“That’s the only place you can see the specialists we need to see.”
With no commercial flights, Claire will have no option but to drive to either Emerald or Rockhampton airports.
The extra travel time would make an already stressful journey for the Swaffield family even worse, said Claire.
“I’ve got a three-year-old as well so it just makes long journeys really difficult,” she explained.
“When it comes to the crunch I’m going to do whatever I can for my kid but being able to fly from Blackwater makes all the hospital trips a lot less stressful.”
For Claire, feeding Lucas is no small task. Suffering with poor neck control, he has to be fed via a tube.
Claire usually fed her son before a flight, and this used to be enough until the family reached Brisbane, but the extra travel time will change that.
“It’s the journey back that will prove the biggest struggle,” said Claire.
“When you have spent a few days in hospital with loads of different appointments you want to just get home with your sick kid. Instead you’ve got to get a plane, and you then have to get in a car and drive for two hours; it’s not good.”