Cr Neil Fisher at Rockhampton Airport. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Cr Neil Fisher at Rockhampton Airport. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Huge jets coming to Rocky Airport as passenger numbers rise

ROCKHAMPTON Airport passenger numbers continue to show a steady increase in the 2017 first quarter figures.

Recent flooding after Cyclone Debbie closed the airport for 11 days, impacting on numbers, but despite that year-to-date passenger numbers are up 5%.

"Our numbers are good," airport manager Scott Waters said.

"The figure has been steadily climbing all year and if the airport hadn't closed it would have really added to that figure.

"Across the board numbers have been creeping up all year...there's a lot more mining activity and the resources sector is picking up."

Airport chairman, Neil Fisher
Airport chairman, Neil Fisher Chris Ison ROK270317cdebbie3

Rockhampton Regional Council has applied for assistance from the Building Better Regions fund towards at $12.6 million pavement upgrade to the airport's runways.

The pavement upgrade will resurface the main runway and enrich the surface of the taxiways, runway shoulders and both the military and regular public transport aprons.

It is expected to add years to the runway's longevity and would allow it to reopen sooner after floods.

The current surface needs a full x-ray inspection after flooding and airport chairman, Cr Fisher says a new surface would mean this is less likely.

"It will save a day's work, which is significant after a flood event," he said.

Along with flood benefits, the resurfacing project takes the expected increase in wide-bodied jets into consideration.

Virgin Airlines is winding down its fleet of prop aircraft and moving to 737 services.

Cr Fisher said other increases in jet activity are also expected.

"60% of our passenger market is business travel and that continues to pick up," he said.

Negotiations are continuing on a Rockhampton to Sydney route as well as the East-West link, a 'milk run' service connecting Rockhampton to Winton via Longreach, Emerald, Barcaldine, Blackall and Alpha.

A Rockhampton to Moranbah service is also being investigated.



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