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Airport flies into record books

By Mark Beale

A RECORD was set at the Whitsunday Coast Airport last month with a 31 per cent increase in passenger numbers for February compared to the same month last year.

Last year, 15,850 passengers passed through the terminal during February, while this February there were 20,857 passengers. This equates to about 5000 extra passengers overall in what is traditionally known as the Whitsundays’ quietest tourism month.

Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney said these outstanding February figures could be attributed to three factors – direct Sydney flights with Tiger Air, favourable weather and the growth in event-based tourism thanks to Chinese New Year activities held in partnership with other organisations.

“These passenger numbers are very much above what was forecast and place the airport in a position to be well in excess of the previously forecast 270,000-280,000 passengers for 2015,” she said.

“With the recent announcement of direct Jetstar flights from Melbourne commencing in June, Whitsunday Coast Airport is set for another record year.”

Council’s CEO Scott Waters, who has been charged with developing the airport and growing passenger numbers, promised it had not reached the pinnacle yet.

“There’s a lot more to come,” he said.

“There’s some great things we’ve got on the boil and if they all come through… the future’s just quite amazing.”

Cr Whitney said as the airport continued to grow it would be a candidate for new technologies and air services including much-needed fire-fighting and rescue services.

She also said the airport’s future direction, including achieving international status, was continually being addressed.

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