What's giving millions of dollars back to Rockhampton residents?
THE numbers might be small, but Rockhampton Regional Councillor Neil Fisher believes an increase in passengers and aircraft is the first sign of economic improvement.
In contrast to almost every other regional Australian airport, Cr Fisher said Rockhampton Airport had recorded increased domestic passenger numbers each month.
Adding to the improving passenger numbers is the 5000 international passengers passing through Airport during Exercise Wallaby with the Singapore Armed Forces.
Cr Fisher said general aviation movements had also increased, which was also influenced by the defence force activity in the region.
"That's very, very encouraging and I suppose reinforces that Rockhampton is always one of the first regional centres that starts to see progress in the start of an upturn in the resources sector,” Cr Fisher said.
"It's a start. It's still got a way to go, but it's showing very promising signs this year.
"Someone has switched on the light at the end of tunnel and it's getting brighter.”
More passengers and planes is a positive for Rockhampton ratepayers, with the council-owned asset operating at a surplus and returning millions annually to the Rockhampton Region.
"Every ratepayer is a shareholder in the airport,” Cr Fisher said.
"The airport is in a really good financial position.
"For November almost going into December we're in a really good position even compared with the last few years.”
This will also help keep the airport in top shape going forward, with council able to continue to invest in the facility and cover costs of infrastructure depreciation.
As Rockhampton farewells the Singapore Armed Forces for another year, Cr Fisher said Exercise Wallaby had been a positive for Central Queensland.
"I believe we probably had the most successful Singapore exercise that I've been involved in,” he said.
"From the airport's point of view everything has run like clockwork.”