Royal Oman Police Force air wing students Ali Mashayakh, Mohammed Al Qadhi with Chopperline graduates Mitchell McFarland and Jamie Hall at Maryborough airport.
Royal Oman Police Force air wing students Ali Mashayakh, Mohammed Al Qadhi with Chopperline graduates Mitchell McFarland and Jamie Hall at Maryborough airport. Nat Bromhead

Flight school the start

THE arrival of an internationally renowned aviation company on the Fraser Coast could be the key to attracting big bucks to the region, says councillor Gerard O'Connell.

Last week former ironman Grant Kenny, who has gone on to run successful helicopter training and tour company Chopperline, launched a flight school in Maryborough.

When asked what had attracted him to the area Mr Kenny described Maryborough as an attractive regional centre with well serviced infrastructure – the exact qualities Cr O'Connell has been trying to promote to aviation leaders for years.

Since commercial operators stopped services from Maryborough Cr O'Connell has been plugging the Heritage City's airport as a haven for general aviation, training and maintenance.

He believes the combination of the commercial operations in Hervey Bay and the training and maintenance advantages in Maryborough place the region in a perfect position to become an aviation hub.

While he has received positive feedback from operators at various national and state level air shows and conferences, few have taken the step to actually putting their money behind their talk.

Cr O'Connell said that with the economy in its current state, investment was “very much confidence based”.

He believed the commitment from Chopperline would encourage others to follow suit.

“I hope it does and I'm sure it will,” Cr O'Connell said

“Aviation is and will be one of they key drivers for our community.

“It's a bit of a homecoming for Grant too and it's great to see him investing in his home town.”



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