Midnight flights curfew
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson’s ruling to allow unrestricted flying until midnight at the Busselton-Margaret River Airport will help negotiations to secure interstate flights, according to project manager the City of Busselton.
The minister handed down a ruling on Monday overruling the Environment Protection Agency’s decision that restricted unlimited flights to 6am and 11pm, with a limit of five weekly flights outside of that time.
While only marking a onehour difference, City of Bus- selton Mayor Grant Henley said the City’s successful appeal to the minister for an extension could help negotiations with airlines.
“Feedback from airlines indicated that initially, servic- es may need to operate during the newly approved hours,” he said.
“The determination is crucial for the City to attract (regular public transport) services to and from the East Coast.”
Almost $60 million has been spent to expand the airport to date, with the aim of attracting direct flights from the east coast.
But with no carrier yet to sign on, the State Government has put a freeze on the final piece of funding — $13 million for the new terminal — and says it will move ahead when a deal is inked with an airline, or if Qantas agrees to build a much-hyped second pilot training academy. The first academy was announced for Toowoomba in September and a decision on the second is yet to be made, but the City has high hopes of Busselton being selected.
City community and commercial services director Naomi Searle said discussions with airlines were also progressing. “Towards the end of 2018 the City reviewed the route business cases and represented them to the Virgin Group and Jetstar,” she said.
“The announcement of the minister’s decision will assist in these discussions, as the opportunity to fly during night time hours is now achievable.”
Towards the end of 2018 the City reviewed the route business cases and re-presented them to the Virgin Group and Jetstar.