Council commits to next stage in Scone Regional Airport Upgrade
Upper Hunter Shire Council has voted to proceed to the next phase of the major upgrade project at the Scone Regional Airport.
Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Wayne Bedggood said Council was already heading in the right direction with the management of the airport and its facilities, and this significant investment would benefit the Shire.
“Additional grant funding is being sought to assist with the total upgrade project which Council wishes to cap at $20 million,” he said.
“Investment in the airport will promote tourism, encourage new residents and businesses, and create new jobs for the region.
“The upgrade is also critical to the safe operations of aircraft activity,” he said.
“The airport is an important community asset for all of the Upper Hunter region as it provides critical and lifesaving Aviation Emergency Services. Last financial year there were in excess of 620 landings by emergency service aircraft including Air Ambulance, Westpac Helicopter, Child Flight and RFS.
“The upgrades will not only continue to support these services, but will ensure the existing airport businesses are able to continue to operate and to enable growth with additional aviation services and businesses.”
The project will include upgrades to airside infrastructure including runway, taxiways, aprons and lighting, and the construction of a Scone Aviation Visitor Attraction, which has secured a $6.2m grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Growth - Environment and Tourism Fund, announced in May 2018 by Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Upper Hunter.
The Aviation Visitor Attraction will be one of only a few in the world to offer the opportunity for joy flights in World War II aircraft and ‘behind the scenes’ viewing of aircraft restoration work. It will be an all-year-round attraction building on the popularity of the Warbirds over Scone Airshow which will occur every two years.
“There is a wide audience for vintage aviation from families to history buffs and flying enthusiasts,” Cr Bedggood said.
“With the completion of the feasibility stage for the airport upgrade, Council has confidence that there is a strong business case to invest in the airport and to continue into the next phase of a 5 phase project plan. Council will review the project at the end of each phase to ensure the project benefits, costs, risks and schedule are in line with the business case. Using this methodology will enable Council to approve each phase and ensure appropriate due diligence and investigation has been completed.”
Plans for the Scone Regional Airport are detailed in the Masterplan prepared by three Consulting, which was adopted by Council in June 2016. Further upgrade plans with detailed infrastructure layout will be released shortly.