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Finer points’ ground international flights, for now

By Mark Beale

The first international flights into the Whitsundays will not arrive this year as previously thought.

Mayor Andrew Willcox saying the costs could exceed $2 million and some of the finer points of the airport expansion hadn’t been “fully explored”.

“So things like customs and immigration, their requirements are a bit more stringent than we first envisaged,” he said.

“We need to get architectural plans done of the terminal and then we have to get building quotes on those.

“We’ll have to put it out for tender because the changes are going to be more than $200,000 and then we need to get it built.”

The first flights from New Zealand are now intended to arrive between August and September next year.

Despite the delay, Cr Willcox said this would actually be positive in the long run.

“We want to make sure we’re ready for flights not just from New Zealand, but into Asia as well,” he said.

“(Aviation experts) Amvin have told us there are different requirements for quarantine and customs from New Zealand to Asia.

“That’s why we’ve taken a more prudent approach, so before we start spending any money we make sure that money is being spent in the right direction.”

Mr Willcox said this would also allow for more time to market the region overseas.

“If we’ve only got a short lead-in time, we haven’t got as much time to tell them about the great things that we have in the Whitsundays,” he said.

SOURCE: WHITSUNDAY TIMES

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