Friday, September 9, 2011

$1.5M Birdsville Airport upgrade

Birdsville Airport (BVI) showing upgraded strip (Stuart Edwards)
Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk today opened the $1.5 million upgrade of Birdsville Airport, improving passenger safety and comfort.

Ms Palaszczuk said the work included a new airport terminal, resealing the pavement, installing new runway edge lighting and extending the apron area.

She said the upgrades were jointly funded by the Diamantina Shire Council, and the State Government through its Regional Airports Development Scheme (RADS) and the Department of Local Government and Planning.

“The safety upgrades mean the airport can meet increases in traffic using Birdsville as a staging point for people flying over Lake Eyre as well as the Skytrans passenger service,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“To ensure the airport is able to meet the growing needs of the community, we’ve resurfaced the full length of the runway using a bitumen chip seal.

“The apron has been extended to create more aircraft parking space, and the taxiway and the manoeuvring area extended because Birdsville is enjoying a massive spike in aviation-related tourism.”

Member for Mount Isa, Betty Kiernan said Birdsville was becoming more and more of a destination for aviation tourism, and this upgrade would enable growth to continue.

“It’s a great base for operators to come and bring tourists who can experience the Birdsville community and then fly around the Channel Country, including Lake Eyre,” Mrs Kiernan said.

“It is growing as a tourist destination and the aircraft traffic is rapidly increasing.

“The resurfacing of the runway and bigger parking and taxiing area was essential for this growth in demand, and with the support of the Queensland Government the project has been completed.”

Mrs Kiernan said the State Government had a strong record of investing in airport infrastructure for far west Queensland rural and remote airstrips through the Regional Airport Development Scheme.

Diamantina Shire Mayor Robbie Dare said the Diamantina Shire Council saw the airport as critical infrastructure, and support for air services, especially during the wet months, was vital.

“Birdsville has been isolated from road access for more than six months in the past three years due to flooding,” Cr Dare said.

“The airport is also essential to support health in the region, the Royal Flying Doctor Service being our only access to doctors.”

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