$4.9m airport upgrade to get business soaring

A long-awaited revamp to Warrnambool’s airport will deliver the region a $40 million economic boost.

Premier Denis Napthine morphs into an aeroplane, much to the amusement of Aviation Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips and Warrnambool Airport Advisory Committee member Cr Rob Askew, at the multi-million-dollar upgrade announcement for the airport at Mailors Flat. 
140620LP11 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Premier Denis Napthine morphs into an aeroplane, much to the amusement of Aviation Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips and Warrnambool Airport Advisory Committee member Cr Rob Askew, at the multi-million-dollar upgrade announcement for the airport at Mailors Flat.  140620LP11 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Under a $4.92 million upgrade announced on Friday a regional aviation park will be created at the Mailors Flat facility.

Premier Denis Napthine said the revamp would help attract businesses associated with aviation and provide numerous spin-offs.

Dr Napthine said it was estimated the project would create 20 direct jobs, 19 indirect jobs and 11 during construction.

The airport upgrade will include the provision of a hard surface for an existing grass runway and more than double the number the hangars from 16 to 36 to meet a growing demand for more aircraft storage.

It will also include extra taxiways, hangar access roads, drainage and essential services.

The announcement came after the opening last Friday of the reconstruction of Horne Road in Warrnambool’s east which Dr Napthine said would provide access to a new 65-hectare industrial estate and residential areas in north Warrnambool.

The airport project was an example of the government’s investment in infrastructure to service the south-west, he said.

“This expansion will help build business,” Dr Napthine said. 

“For example, Origin Energy has expressed interest in using Warrnambool Airport to fly medium-lift helicopters to its drilling platform located off the coastline of Port Campbell.

“It presently uses an airport in South Gippsland as the land base for this activity.

“This expansion will now make this operation possible from Warrnambool.”

The Premier said the conversion of the grassed runway to a hard surface would stop it being closed during winter when it became boggy.

The grassed runway runs north/south and the main sealed runway east/west. 

Warrnambool City Council’s city infrastructure director Peter Robertson said all existing hangars at the airport were occupied and up to 15 parties had so far expressed interest in building more.

Warrnambool Airport Advisory Committee chairman Stephen Lucas said demand for the hangars was coming from companies who used aircraft to get to business locations quickly, aviation training, and the growth of offshore and mainland industries.

Aviation training and agricultural spraying businesses already operating at the airport were busy, Mr Lucas said.

His committee had been lobbying for the upgrade of the airport for many years, he said.

The state government will contribute $4.072m, Warrnambool City Council $750,000 and Moyne Shire $100,000.

The airport is owned and operated by Warrnambool City Council but is located in Moyne Shire.

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