The new $11 million Armidale Regional Airport upgrade is just three weeks from completion.
Four months after inspecting the stage one upgrades, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall joined airport Operations Manager Tim Weeks, Mayor Simon Murray and Council CEO Peter Dennis for a tour.
“It’s looking terrific and I’m really looking forward to the official opening in December,” Mr Marshall told The Express on Monday.
“This airport is the gateway for 140,000 people a year to the whole Northern Tablelands region and it’s important that we have an airport that meets current demand but will cater for continuing growth of passengers.”
“It will be very comfortable, very functional and certainly allow us to then attract further air services to go to places potentially like Newcastle, Canberra (and) Melbourne.”
Mr Weeks said once complete, the airport will be suitable to welcome larger Qantas planes like the Q400 which seat 74 passengers compared to the currently used 300 series which seat 50.
Check-in will stay in its current updated position while the cafe will move to around the centre of the stage two section.
Bag collection will be towards the far east end of the building.
“Departures will be through this huge lounge which is about four times the size of the previous one,” Mr Weeks said.
“It’s got really funky furniture … there’s 48 sky lights across the top and floor-to-ceiling windows.
“There’s glass everywhere to let light in and let people see out.
“I can’t wait come Christmas time for the shop here to have a big Christmas tree in the window.
“We’ve still got a long way to go and there’s a lot of work to be done physically out on the apron and the runway but this is a fantastic step in increasing the level of passenger comfort.”
The new airport will also have phone charging ports under all the seats and free WiFi throughout the terminal.
The new and improved Armidale Regional Airport will be officially opened to the public this December.