Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan today announced $1.3m in State Government funding for the Coober Pedy District Council to upgrade the regional airstrip.
Minister Mullighan said the upgrade will allow passenger air services to continue unrestricted providing a vital service for the remote district.
“To meet Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requirements and avoid restrictions on passenger airline services, the current runway at the Coober Pedy Airport needs to be widened from 18 metres to 30 metres,” Mr Mullighan said.
“Scheduled services provided by Regional Express were under threat, with the airline set to stop operations under new CASA requirements coming into effect in November that classify the runway as too narrow.
“Over recent weeks, the Member for Giles has been strongly lobbying for the State Government to intervene.”
“The prospect of losing commercial flights to Coober Pedy was unacceptable to the South Australian Government.”
The Member for Giles Eddie Hughes said the upgrade was important for the local community.
“This upgrade will bring the Coober Pedy Airport runway to the same standard as other Council-owned and operated aerodromes in South Australia,” Mr Hughes said.
“The upgrade will not only improve access for the community to medical and emergency services, it will also boost regional tourism opportunities.
Minister for Regional Development Geoff Brock said the improvement to the runway would also provide an economic boost.
“Economic opportunities will also increase with continued services for business, particularly mining, in the region. Almost half of those travelling to the region for business are employed within the mining sector,” Mr Brock said.
A recent departing passenger survey conducted by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure showed that 75 per cent of passengers on flights from Coober Pedy were visitors