Premier inspects airport
WORK on upgrading the terminal at Whitsunday Coast Airport is already behind schedule after wet weather has caused delays.
The work only started last month but workers have been playing catch up as a result of rain.
However, when Premier Anna Bligh arrived on a government plane at the airport yesterday to inspect the work - the sun was shining.
Ms Bligh visited the site before heading straight to Hamilton Island in time for the arrival of US talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey.
During her inspection of the work at Proseprine yesterday, Ms Bligh said it was expected the upgrade would be finished by June next year.
“What you see is the new Proserpine airport starting to take shape,” she said.
“Mother Nature permitting, it will be [finished by] the middle of the year.”
The upgrade includes a refurbished departure lounge and an internal baggage carousel area.
Some internal developments are already starting to take shape.
The restaurant and food section will be moved ‘airside' which means it will be accessible after passengers go through security.
“It will be a much better experience for visitors and locals and that is important,” Ms Bligh said.
“There is nothing worse than arriving with wet luggage.”
Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt agreed.
“This is one of the most important projects for this region,” she said.
“This first impression plays a very important part.
“There is nothing pleasant about having to walk through the rain.”
Ms Jarratt said the airport would remain open while work continued on the $7 million airport upgrade.
“The airport will remain fully operational throughout the seven month program of works, which is vital in an area like ours which relies heavily on tourist trade,” she said.
This was the Premier's second visit to the area in a week. Last week, she was here to launch the new Tourism Whitsundays brand.