Keeping Thangool airport open vital for local business

VITAL LINK: Competitive air services out of Thangool vital for region's business success.
VITAL LINK: Competitive air services out of Thangool vital for region's business success. Contributed

FOR Biloela businesses to remain strong and viable, more people need to fly out of Thangool.

That's one reason why Banana Shire Council is fighting for the Federal Government to invest more money and mind-power into rural aerodromes.

Banana Shire director Council Services John McDougall said it was vital that a regular passenger service between Thangool and Brisbane be provided.

"We are urging the Federal Government to develop initiatives to support the continued operation of regional, rural and remote airports,” he said. "They need to consider reducing costs to passengers and giving incentives for airlines to develop routes to and from regional centres.”

He said retaining as much expenditure locally as possible was crucial to the success of local businesses.

"If residents are travelling to Rockhampton or Gladstone to fly to Brisbane for work or medical reasons, instead of using Thangool, they are quite likely to take the opportunity to shop in the larger centres before returning home.

"This can affect the viability of local businesses, placing their future at risk, potentially leading to business closures.

"This can lead to a downward spiral of economic activity as fewer services are available.”

This point was stressed in Council's submission to the senate inquiry into the Operation, Regulation and Funding of Air Route Service Delivering to Rural, Regional and Remote Communities.

In its submission, Council said increased traffic on the highways between Rockhampton and Gladstone resulted in greater potential for road traffic accidents and the social and economic costs associated with the outcomes of accidents.

"These situations can all be avoided by improving the viability and competitiveness of the air service operating from Thangool Airport,” Mr McDougall.

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