Ballina airport set to soar upon approval
BALLINA Gateway Airport's terminal could be increased by up to 40%, with the expansion decision resting on the JRPP in a meeting on Thursday.
The $7 million project received $4.5 million in funding from the NSW State Government and $2.5 million through council loan funding.
Among the upgrades there will be new retail areas, a cafe, bar and grill, newsagency and gifts shop, two new amenities blocks, upgrades to carparking and seating for approximately 360 passengers.
Manager of Ballina Gateway Airport and Ballina Council Commercial Services, Paul Tsikleas, said while the airport will have several great upgrades the prospect of international flights wasn't feasible.
"It wasn't designed for that. It's a very expensive exercise to set yourself up for international passengers," Mr Tsikleas said.
"We are doing a good job servicing the national tourism."
The airport number in the last six to seven years have grown from approximately 270,000 passengers per annum to more than 500,000 per annum.
But he said the tremendous growth has them looking at not only servicing the major cities, but to other areas like Brisbane and south-east Queensland.
Mr Tsikleas said if the project gets approval on Thursday, it will then go to tender in early August with call outs for construction workers to undertake the terminal works.
"We hope to get started on the building works by October this year...the expected construction period is expected to be about six months".
He said the extensions are staged to so airport can continue to run as usual.
Ballina Gateway Airport is in the top 10 regional airport's in Australia, Mr Tsikleas pointed out, with it being the second largest regional airport in NSW.
"We are getting tremendous feedback form local businesses like hotels, motels, restaurants and retailers.
"It's probably the major piece of transport infrastructure on the NSW North Coast," he said.