Sky's the limit for Rocky international airport
YOU will have seen recent media about my proposal for a six-month trial at our 'international' airport.
The trial is best understood as a council being prepared to pay for customs officers and incentives to allow a number of things to be trialled.
We are in an incredibly fortunate situation in that our tarmac is already capable of landing international flights and our terminal is capable of transforming into a workable international terminal. This is thanks to the upgrades that have already been done to support the military exercises.
In my perfect world, the timing might allow us to take direct flights for Beef Australia 2018. Are there entrepreneurial local travel agents willing to take an opportunity to put together a charter flight to the snow in New Zealand?
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We will also be lobbying the major airlines to trial flights to popular destinations. Singapore is obvious, as is New Zealand and maybe even Vanuatu?
I have seen a significant number of suggestions for different destinations on social media. It would be lovely if the airlines were able to satisfy everybody's dream as well as make the price really cheap, which was also something I saw quite a bit!
We are like a bus station. We are trying to sweeten the pot to get new services because lots of people through the airport is good for business in so many ways but ultimately it's out of our hands.
Their decision will be about money in the end and our charges (or lack of charges) is still only a very, very minor part of the cost of running a route.
As a very significant driver to the trial we are hoping that we can work with local growers to test out possible new produce direct into an overseas market.
We might need to make arrangements for temporary refrigerated storage but all of these things can be done at a relatively low cost for a trial period.
The six-month trial will give us some useful data and learnings. Every report we have ever commissioned about an international airport has ended up concluding that it's not viable. And the experts may well be right. But we sit and watch other airports such as Wellcamp in Toowoomba manage to fly in the face of expert advice. The way I see it, if we never have a go we'll never really know!