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It’s official! Whitsunday Coast Airport best in Australia

By Ray White Whitsunday

We knew it, our community knew it and now all of Australia knows it. Our Council owned and operated  Whitsunday Coast Airport (WCA) is the fastest growing regional airport in Australia and was last night voted  “Best Large Airport” at the Australian Airports Association Annual Award in Adelaide. 

Mayor Julie Hall said it is wonderful recognition for the hard work of the amazing WCA team led by Chief  Operating Officer Aviation and Tourism, Craig Turner, who was at the awards to receive the “Best Large  Regional Airport” gong. 

“It is significant to point out that our airport previously won the Best Large Regional Airport in 2018 so to  have shown our resilience and bounced back so quickly after the COVID pandemic is a credit to Craig and  his team,” she said. 

“Connectivity is key to making it easy for visitors to explore the Whitsunday region post-pandemic and our  airport is leading the way with record numbers in 2022. 

“In April we smashed the highest monthly passenger record with 47,384 passengers transiting through the  terminal.  

“The previous highest monthly total pax for April was 37,486 in 2019 so too eclipse that by nearly 10,000  proves that WCA probably the fastest growing regional airport in Australia,” Mayor Hall said. 

“The flow on economic benefits to our region’s tourism industry and business stakeholders in Airlie Beach,  Bowen, Proserpine, Collinsville, and other areas is huge.” 

Chief Operating Officer Aviation and Tourism, Craig Turner said the award was just reward for the  resilience and hard work of his team to navigate the airport through the COVID era and emerge the other  side bigger, better and stronger.  

“Our awards entry was titled “Navigating Through & Prospering in a Covid World” and highlighted how  critical our airport is to the success of the Whitsunday region for our industry and business stakeholders,”  he said. 

“A major focus for my team has been business development to attract new carriers and new destinations to  increase passenger and air movement, plus the introduction of freight operations. 

“Adding freight to our business plan was a strategic move aimed at maximising the capacity of aircraft to  drive additional revenue and provide more reliable and efficient supply of fresh produce for tourism  operators.”

Mr Turner said road freight was often impacted during disaster events which further highlighted the  importance of increasing our freight operation to give local producers of fruit, vegetables, and live seafood  the opportunity to connect with the Sydney and Melbourne Markets. 

“Importantly this provides support to local industries while driving extra revenue for the airport, which we are  using to support the development of a freight distribution centre expanding our airport into a multi-service  logistics hub,” he said. 

“This provides support to local tourism and other businesses with more efficient delivery and despatch  services and could lead to exciting opportunities to expand internationally. 

“We have hit over 220 flights monthly which means more bums on seats, bodies in beds and visitors  exploring our region and a major reason the Whitsundays is one of Australia’s most popular tourism  destinations. 

“We have Jetstar, Virgin, Qantas and Skytrans already flying direct to the Whitsundays and with Bonza  Airline indicating last week that their first flight would be from Sunshine Coast to Whitsundays, then flight  numbers will continue to soar. 

“Our amazing airport team are never in cruise control and are already locked in talks with prospective new  airlines to find new routes, so stay tuned!”

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