Airport parking charges removed

AS SOON as the necessary alterations can be made to the operating equipment the old car parking order will be restored at Hervey Bay airport, after the Fraser Coast council yesterday conceded the 30 minutes for free parking limit had not been a success.

“It’s quite obvious it has not worked and was detrimental to the whole operation of the airport,” councillor Barb Hovard said.

Car parking fees at the airport will be amended to allow free parking for the first two hours. The half-hour measure was introduced in the June budget.

“We were cutting off our nose to spite our face,” Ms Hovard said.

Casual landing fees at the airports in Hervey Bay and Maryborough will also be waived with immediate effect, pending the provision of a further report.

“The reality is that charging fees at an airport the size of Hervey Bay does not generate revenue or produce a valuable return. It actually stifles growth,” Darrel Whittaker, representing the Fraser Coast aviation community, said.

“We’re trying to bring people here for tourism. Charging user fees is going to drive people away.”

Landing an aircraft with an MTOW up to 2000kg cost $9.50 in Maryborough or Hervey Bay before yesterday’s decision.

“Common sense has prevailed at this stage,” Mike Macbeth, spokesman for the aviation community, said. “It appeared it would cost the council more to collect the fees than the fees were worth.”

Mr Macbeth said a fee advertised on the airport website charging aircraft for approaching the runway was misleading because the council did not have the jurisdiction to charge the fee.

“That undermines the credibility of council and management of the airport in the eyes of aviation people thinking of coming here.

“We don’t feel the aviation community has been properly consulted in the process.

“We want to try and attract private aviation business here.”

Promising extensive consultation, manager of Fraser Coast airports, Sharon Henderson, said all landing-related fees, including training flight fees, would be subject to the review requested by councillors.

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