Leading regional airport operator Queensland Airports Limited has hinted it'll throw its hat in the ring as council prepares to relinquish the management of Coffs airport to a private operator.
Leading regional airport operator Queensland Airports Limited has hinted it'll throw its hat in the ring as council prepares to relinquish the management of Coffs airport to a private operator. "Rob Cleary; Rob Cleary / Seen A"

Queensland company hints at its intentions for airport lease

AS Coffs Harbour City Council prepares to relinquish the management of Coffs Harbour Airport to a private operator for the first time, one of Australia's leading regional airport operators has hinted it intends to be in the running to take over the lease.

Since the council voted last year to move forward with the preparation of a long-term lease to a third party, speculation has been rife over who would be taking over the role.

The airport has been owned and operated by the council since its inception, however, long-serving manager Dennis Martin is now retiring from the position.

Queensland Airports Limited, which operates Gold Coast, Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports, is rumoured to be interested in taking over the lease. Its chief executive officer, Chris Mills, has all but confirmed the speculation.

"We understand that Coffs Harbour City Council is yet to finalise the expressions of interest process," Mr Mills said.

QAL's largest airport, Gold Coast Airport, sees more than 6.5 million passengers a year and offers international flights to New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

There are hopes, particularly from the local business community, that Coffs Harbour's airport would also offer international flights, arguing tourism and the local agricultural export industries would greatly benefit from this.

At this stage, tenders closed last week for an independent expert advisor to aid the council in establishing the lease.

The council has declined to comment at this point in time.



Jobs or environment: Jewel puts us at crucial crossroads

premium_icon Jobs or environment: Jewel puts us at crucial crossroads

Resolving issues that arose from highrise saga will take time

Trad opens door for Hinkler deal discussions

premium_icon Trad opens door for Hinkler deal discussions

Deputy Premier looking forward to discussions with incoming minister

Top marks: Bundy council able to manage $25m debt increase

premium_icon Top marks: Bundy council able to manage $25m debt increase

BUNDABERG Regional Council can pay its debts