Emerald expands airport to cope with FIFO

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The Bowen Basin town of Emerald is considering plans for a separate fly-in fly-out airport terminal to cope with a massive increase in transient mining workers.

According to Central Queensland News the new terminal will allow workers to use a separate building and free up space for travelers in the existing terminal.

CQ News reports the expansion follows an upgrade at the airport less than two years ago.

Qantas and Virgin currently have around 130 flights a week passing through Emerald and that number is expected to rise to around 200 in the near future.

Ashley Rosario from the Central Highlands Regional Council told CQ News FIFO passengers at Emerald now accounted for almost half the airport’s traffic.

"It’s hard to tell the exact split between regular passenger traffic (RPT) and FIFO traffic, but it is heading towards about 60 per cent RPT and 40 per cent FIFO," he said.

The expansion comes as Virgin Australia announces plans to invest $8 million in regional airline Skywest to capitalise on booming mining traffic.

The deal will give Virgin a ten per cent stake in Skywest, allowing the carrier to expand its rural services.

"Our current integrated offering with Virgin Australia is extremely valuable to major mining company customers who need to move large numbers of employees," the company said.

Virgin said it had been expanding its regional network with Skywest since October 2011 with services to Emerald, Gladstone, and Port Macquarie.

Image: ETU National

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