The first stage of long-awaited renovations at Armidale Regional Airport started on Monday.
Stage one of development, which is costing upwards of $9 million, involves expansion of the airport terminal and will include a new cafe, retail area, a new baggage carousel and more passenger seating.
Frequent flyer and local resident Isabell Devos said the presence of a high standard airport was a vital part of her decision when she decided to move to the region many years ago.
“When we moved we wanted to live in a smaller town but be close to an airport,” she said.
“Having more parking and improved facilities here will definitely be a big draw-card for more people to chose Armidale Airport I think.”
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall met with representatives from Armidale Regional Council and A W Edwards on Monday to discuss the progress.
“In addition to our beautiful new terminal, the upgrade will also provide Armidale with an expanded airport apron, allowing for more flights into and out of Armidale and the capacity to accommodate larger planes,” he said.
“By investing in these major works, we are ensuring the airport will be able to support growing passenger numbers and stimulate Armidale’s continued growth as a regional economic hub.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said that the project marked another step forward in the NSW Government’s commitment to delivering infrastructure in regional areas.
“The Government is committed to supporting NSW’s regional heartland, and these infrastructure developments are making regional NSW a more attractive place to live, work and visit,” he said.
The NSW Government has committed a total of $70 million dollars for upgrades to 27 airport projects across regional NSW.
Armidale Regional Council administrator Ian Tiley said it was important to keep the facilities inline with growing demand.
Demand such as more passengers passing through and the launch of a new daily airline service to Brisbane.
“What that will mean for the economy and economic development is huge,” Mr Tiley said.
A W Edwards site manager Tom Mitchell said the first part of the development would involve extending the airport out by about 26 metres.
“After the first round we’ll move into stage two which will be the refurbishment of the departure lounge, baggage collection area, refreshments facilities and car hire,” Mr Mitchell said.
The first round of construction is expected to be complete by the end of May, 2017.