FLYIN' HIGH: What more passenger numbers mean for the Bay
NEW figures reveal there are more people coming and going through Hervey Bay Airport than ever before.
There was an extra 2614 passenger movements, for a total of 51,266, in the first three months of 2019/20 compared to the same quarter last year, at 48,652.
These statistics come as the Fraser Coast Regional Council prepares to call for tenders to deliver a multi-million dollar refurbishment of the airport runway.
Councillor Paul Truscott said the runway renewal was the single biggest capital works project in this 2019/20 budget with $14 million dollars allocated this financial year.
"The last major upgrade of the Hervey Bay Airport was almost 15 years ago when the runway was lengthened to allow for the introduction of jet services, so it's in need of a facelift," Cr Truscott said.
Tender documents are being prepared for the upgrade with work tipped to start in early 2020.
Mayor George Seymour said having a well-used airport and strong aviation industries were central to strengthening the region's economy.
"The regular flights to and from Brisbane, Sydney and Lady Elliott Island carried more than 180,000 passengers in 2018/19 and we are on track for even more passenger movements at the Hervey Bay Airport this year if current trends continue," he said.
"The increase comes on the back of a Fraser Coast Tourism and Events marketing strategy aimed at demonstrating our region's accessibility to south-east Queensland and Sydney.
"With the recent Whale Heritage status declaration for Hervey Bay highlighting that we are a globally unique destination for whale watching, we would hope to attract even more visitors in the years to come."
The council is also developing the Avion Aviation Industry precinct, which will help pave the way for the establishment of aeronautical manufacturing.
A major civil construction project at the Avion precinct was recently completed and the handover of blocks to Red Diamond Pty Ltd, the parent company of Astro Aero, will occur next month.
The two projects at the Hervey Bay airport precinct are being supported by a $9.19 million grant through the Australian Government's Building Better Regions Fund: Infrastructure Projects Stream.
The council is also in discussions with commercial bodies about aviation industry investment and job-creating opportunities at the Maryborough Airport.