Council takes flight with RPT plans

Negotiations with airline companies interested in providing a new regular passenger service from the Illawarra Regional Airport have begun.

Last week, Council considered a business case for Regional Passenger Transport (RPT) flights to and from the airport at Albion Park and take the necessary steps to support the service.

The airport catchment area for the service is a population of approximately 300,000 and includes the Illawarra, South Coast and Southern Highlands regions, which is the largest regional area in Australia currently without regular passenger flights.

Council has agreed to invest $770,000 in the project and a purpose built terminal building will be built in the next couple of years.

“The analysis of visitor information, survey responses and comparative regional airport data has presented us with a decisive business case for RPT in our region,” said Mayor Marianne Saliba.

“The report highlights that there is sufficient demand in the airport catchment to support a regular flight service,” Cr Saliba said.

“This is a real opportunity to enhance the region’s tourism potential through air travel direct to the Illawarra region, but also provide another low-cost travel alternative for our regional community and assist in relieving the state’s traffic congestions that our regional community face every day travelling to and from Sydney airport,” she said.

Staff have initiated discussions with airline companies and will provide a report to Council to appoint the operators in the coming few months.