Lismore Regional Airport is undergoing a $1.87 million upgrade including new runway lighting that will assist to resolve landing issues for planes during times of heavy fog.
The floodplain fog is often to blame for flights being diverted to Ballina or being delayed in the morning.
Lismore City Council Commercial Services Coordinator Kevin Trustum said the upgrade involves the installation of over 9000 metres of cabling and 120 new LED runway and taxiway lights. The cabling will be laid in conduit, which will increase the life of the lighting system.
“The runway lighting project is being undertaken by Saunders Electrics from Longreach with assistance from 11 local contractors including surveyors, electricians, cable locators, concreters and local suppliers,” Mr Trustum said.
“The upgrade has been allocated $1.57 million in funding through the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund. These works are part of a broader plan to improve passenger services at Lismore Regional Airport and build the Lismore Aviation Centre into a first-class regional facility.”
Member for Lismore, Thomas George, said that the upgrades to the airport are vital for the local economy and tourism.
“I am proud the NSW Government has been able to provide funding for these important works and look forward to the positive impact these upgrades will have supporting Lismore’s growth as the business, health and industry capital of the Northern Rivers area.
“These upgrades are also fantastic news for the local tourism industry and will help to boost visitor numbers, as well as local jobs.” Mr George said.
As well as runway lighting, the upgrade includes new light-aircraft taxiways and a concrete helipad, better tourist information facilities and visitor amenities, more aircraft parking, new signage, road improvements, and better security and street-lighting.
Mr Trustum said that the upgrade coincides with Lismore City Council’s plans to release new general aviation blocks to meet the growing demand throughout the state for land and hangar space.
“Council hopes to release around 40 blocks in stages over the next few years, and we are seeking Expressions of Interest from aviation enthusiasts, general aviation business operators and adventure flight specialists.
“We hope to build the Lismore Aviation Centre into the biggest regional aviation hub between Brisbane and Sydney.”
Lismore City Council’s strategic plan for the airport includes five focus areas, one of which is the establishment of a centre for medical aero services in conjunction with the $280 million Stage 3A expansion of Lismore Base Hospital.
The Northern Region Life Saver Rescue Helicopter recently commenced works on its new base at the Lismore Regional Airport, providing the all-important catalyst for a regional centre of aero-medical excellence.
The general aviation area has also become integral to the work of local educational institutions. The North Coast Institute of TAFE currently utilises the airport terminal for baggage handling and flight attendant training while the Australian Defence Force and Northern Rivers Aero Club both provide pilot training.
“All of this combines to show us that we are perfectly placed to become the regional general aviation hub,” Mr Trustum said.
“The reality is, in NSW there is a lack of storage and aircraft capacity, and the new land release will allow us to fill that gap.”