Miners tell council to sell airport

A MINING advocacy group says council should hand over operation of the Sunshine Coast Regional airport to private enterprise because of its failure to secure routes to resource boom hot spots.

Sunshine Coast Mining and Gas Association coordinator, David Wrigley, said the region's fly-in fly-out 10,000-strong workforce was frustrated by a lack of commercial routes to Mackay and Roma.

However Sunshine Coast Airport general manager Peter Pallot said decisions on flight paths were made by airlines, not airports.

Mr Wrigley said his attempts at lobbying the Sunshine Coast Regional Council had been fruitless, despite his group's research indicating there was demand for the services.

He is the commercial manager for National Dewatering, a mining support service business with offices in Newcastle and Mackay.

He said the industry's productivity was being diminished by a lack of Coast-to-Mackay routes.

He said he was losing countless man hours because his workers had to commute to Brisbane Airport.

However Mr Wrigley said council had failed to lure carriers and should hand over airport operation and management to a private company.

"If the council can't run it, then they should sell it," he said.

"They should stop holding on to the infrastructure if they're not managing it properly. Private enterprise is an amazing thing. It's amazing what gets done when your money is on the line."

Mr Pallot said the airport was in negotiations with several carriers to expand routes.

"Airports market their services to the airlines with a view to offering the best support," he said.

"However it is ultimately airlines which have to consider the costs associated with leasing aircraft and aircraft space, aircraft maintenance and the ongoing viability of any air route.

"We have also seen in recent times a significant shift in the Queensland mining industry from a construction cycle to a production phase, resulting in a reduction in demand within the resources sector."

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