Push to boost air travel into region
THE region’s peak marketing and development organisation is pushing the need to boost air travel into Townsville as figures show a fall in passenger numbers this year.
Townsville Enterprise Ltd representatives met with senior Qantas executives in Sydney this week with TEL CEO Patricia O’Callaghan saying it was “really positive” and further meetings were planned.
“The objective of the meeting was to determine how we can drive additional demand into the region in the interests of growing the economy,” she said.
They presented information on the local economy’s performance and the pipeline of projects on the horizon including the $ 250 million stadium and move by infrastructure group Adani to establish a mining base at Townsville.
They also raised aviation markets TEL is targeting and the city’s events calendar.
“It was an opportune time to present on not only the state of the region but also the pipeline of projects we have on the horizon,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
While Tigerair and Air Niu- gini recently started services at Townsville and Virgin Airlines and Airnorth have added services, the airport’s single biggest user, Qantas, has cut capacity by using smaller, older aircraft.
Also, sources say there are difficulties for passengers at the airport when several flights arrive around the same time, with reports there were delays in baggage collection of about 45 minutes last Sunday.
According to statistics published by Townsville Airport, passengers numbers are down 0.7 per cent to about 1.44 million in the financial year to May after a 2.1 per cent increase in 2015- 16.
Ms O’Callaghan said Townsville had experienced some challenging times but there were a lot of positive things happening and some “green shoots”.
“Our economy has held solidly. We still have over $ 14 billion of gross regional product, the sod will be turned on the stadium later this year and Adani’s head office is currently being established,” she said.
“There’s a lot happening and we need to be planning for it. The business community is travelling more frequently to the markets of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. We need to be sure we have the capacity.”