Airport off to flying start
THE Whitsunday Coast Airport is off to a flying start with the newly refurbished facility officially opened on Tuesday in plenty of time for the busy holiday period ahead.
The opening ceremony was led by acting premier Andrew Fraser, tourism minister Jan Jarratt and Whitsunday mayor Mike Brunker who also marked the handover of the facility from state government to the local council and Whitsunday community.
Airport business development manager Scott Waters said the community's airport was "basically a brand new facility overall, but with utilisation of the previous structure".
"And the big ticket item is an internal baggage carousel," he said.
"We're no longer getting wet and hot - it's all done in air-conditioned comfort now."
Acting premier Andrew Fraser agreed this was the biggest single change he had seen in 35 years of travelling through the airport.
"It's the end of an era not having the old trolleys roll up," he said.
Mr Fraser said the airport upgrade would now put the best foot forward for the Whitsunday region.
"Given that I've been coming here my whole life it's a proud moment to be here for something I think is truly significant, not only to Proserpine but the whole of the Whitsundays," he said.
Mayor Mike Brunker said he was particularly pleased with the airport's progress, given the project had been through floods, cyclones and even an earthquake.
"The whole place looks schmicko," he said.
The upgraded airport includes:
A bigger departure lounge
New-and-improved check-in and baggage claim areas
A new baggage claim carousel inside the terminal building
A new-look café and bar
New and refurbished security screening and arrival areas
Relocated and refurbished airport offices
Customs/quarantine facilities to cater for potential international carriers in the future.