Upper Hunter Shire Council welcomes the announcement by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen, of further funding for the upgrade of Scone Regional Airport.
The $6.5M funds from the NSW Government’s Drought Stimulus Package will bring forward a $15.5M project of planned airside work, and allow for the future growth of airport activities including emergency services and business operations.
The airport supports the equine, mining, farming, tourism and other industries and provides lifesaving aviation emergency services including Air Ambulance, Westpac Helicopter, Child Flight, Rural Fire Service and NSW Police.
Airport traffic is increasing every year and there were over 8000 aircraft movements in the 2018-2019 financial year. On average two landings a day relate to emergency functions, such as, police, fire services and medical flights including patient transport and organ donation.
The project will include:
- Reconstruction of runway and asphalt overlay
- Removal of existing runway safety area and reinstate with a grassed runway graded area
- Demolition of existing taxiways and reinstate with grass
- Construction of an expanded aircraft apron, a full length parallel taxiway, and additional taxiways and taxi lanes to existing and future hangar lots, and line marking of runway and taxiways
- Relocation of the aircraft fuel facility and weather information systems
- Construction of general aviation and helicopter parking area
- Installation of an aeronautical ground lighting system
- Construction of wildlife fencing, a workshop and storage shed
- New stormwater drains, pipes and associated infrastructure.
These works will address safety and operational issues and comply with Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) legislation and regulations, including new requirements to be introduced in August 2020. New drainage and rehabilitation of the runway surface, and new airside lighting was identified in the 2019 Annual Safety Inspection and must be undertaken to allow the airport to continue to operate and grow.
An additional project to the airside works is a planned new Warbird Aviation Attraction and Terminal building, for which Council has previously received a grant of $6,256,904 from NSW Government’s Restart NSW Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund. The facility will be an all-year-round attraction building on the popularity of the Warbirds over Scone Airshow. Additional funds for the airport upgrade and visitor attraction will also come from a loan fund undertaken by Council.
The combined works – airside and the visitor aviation attraction – planned for Scone Regional Airport has a total estimated cost of $23.5M. Council will take a $10.75M loan to cover the remaining required funds.
Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Wayne Bedggood said “Investment in the airport will support emergency services, promote tourism, encourage new residents and businesses, and create new jobs for the region.”
Further detailed plans are include in the Scone Regional Airport Masterplan adopted by Council in June 2016.