Virgin training ground
THE Fraser Coast has been chosen as the training ground for Virgin pilots.
Virgin Australia chose Hervey Bay airport out of all their bases in the country to test out their new ATR72-600 aircraft as part of their pilot training program.
The FCRC's aviation portfolio councillor Rolf Light was thrilled with the decision.
"It enhances and reinforces our partnership with Virgin," Cr Light said.
"It is a great accolade for our region that they chose us."
Virgin advised that it already had six of the older model ATR planes in its fleet, but due to new design features in the ATR72-600, all pilots are required to undergo a conversion course.
The new planes feature an updated flight deck, and the training course would run for four weeks.
The training will mostly involve the aircraft simply landing, taxiing to the end of the runway and departing again immediately.
This is expected to occur once a day.
Cr Light said the Virgin flight training was one of the highlights of his aviation portfolio so far.
Other highlights included the completion of a project at the eastern end of the airport to build an access road off Don Adams Dr, and an extension of the general aviation taxiway, he said.
Both these projects were completed by local company, Sunstate Group Queensland.
Cr Light said drainage works at the edge of the runway was also being prepared to alleviate problems caused by sinkholes.
Tenders for the drainage work are currently being assessed.
ATR is based in Toulouse, France
Every 20 seconds, an ATR takes off somewhere around the world.
ATR has more than 180 operators in more than 90 countries