FLIGHT PATH TO NEW ZEALAND

Au­gust has been ear­marked to turn Whit­sun­day Air­port in­ter­na­tional

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Carruthers

THE ap­proval by lo­cal govern­ment is the last hur­dle an in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal needs to clear be­fore over­seas vis­i­tors can fly di­rectly to the Whit­sun­day Air­port.

Whit­sun­day Mayor An­drew Will­cox said a pro­posal would be con­sid­ered by coun­cil at the first pos­si­ble op­por­tu­nity.

Cr Will­cox and Whit­sun­day Air­port in­terim CEO Scott Wa­ters on Mon­day were re­served about the pos­si­bil­ity of the Whit­sun­days be­ing added as a new des­ti­na­tion for New Zealan­ders.

They were not ready to cel­e­brate the in­clu­sion of the Whit­sun­day Air­port as a di­rect in­ter­na­tional launch pad to the Whit­sun­day is­lands un­til it was a sure thing.

Their pri­mary con­cern was that the move had not been given a chance to be dis­cussed at a lo­cal govern­ment level yet.

“I am happy that we can get some in­ter­na­tional flights over there but it hasn’t been through coun­cil yet,” Cr Will­cox said.

“We have to know from a coun­cil point of view what the cost im­pli­ca­tions are ... or what the ac­tual full deal is.”

Mr Wa­ters said the Whit­sun­day Air­port had met the cri­te­ria re­quested of it by Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton.

“The next step is putting a busi­ness case for­ward to the Fed­eral Govern­ment,” he said.

“We are in the fi­nal stages of com­plet­ing that” – the case will need to be ap­proved by the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil be­fore a pro­posal is sub­mit­ted back to the Fed­eral Govern­ment for con­sid­er­a­tion.

Mr Wa­ters said he ex­pected the same level of fed­eral sup­port that had been af­forded to other in­ter­na­tional air­ports in re­gional Queens­land.

The first week­end in Au­gust has been ear­marked for the tem­po­rary tran­si­tion from a do­mes­tic to an in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal.

“The rea­son we have it on the week­end is be­cause we would shut this down as a do­mes­tic ter­mi­nal and it would open up as a fully op­er­a­tional in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal,” Cr Will­cox said.

No an­nounce­ment has been made about a pos­si­ble air­line to ser­vice the air­port but talks are in their fi­nal stages.

Photo: Peter Carruthers

GO­ING ABROARD: Whit­sun­day Mayor An­drew Will­cox and Scott Wa­ters, of the Whit­sun­day Air­port.

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