Jul 14, 2016

New airport boss shares ‘Gateway’ goals

New airport boss shares ‘Gateway’ goals Rockhampton Regional Council’s Committee Chair of Airport Cr Neil Fisher and new airport manager Scott Waters are looking forward to raising the airport’s profile.

New Rockhampton Airport manager Scott Waters has hit the ground running with a proposed rebranding plan to position the facility firmly on the Northern Australia radar.

Mr Waters is working with Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Margaret Strelow and Airport Committee Chair Cr Neil Fisher to rebrand the airport – The Gateway to Northern Australia.

The move would link in with the Australian Government’s Northern Australia plan and Office of Northern Australia, where $5 billion is being spent on infrastructure projects to help the nation’s north reach its economic potential.

Mr Waters was previously Whitsunday Regional Council chief executive officer and replaces the now-retired Trevor Heard as airport manager.

This week he discussed some of the airport’s current projects and those he is keen to lead.  These include:

  • Developing opportunities for the direct export of regional produce from the airport as well as transport and logistics development;
  • Luring low-cost carriers to deliver a return of direct services to Sydney and Melbourne;
  • Expanding intra Queensland air-links from Rockhampton, particularly to the West and expand direct Queensland costal connections in addition to the current direct services to Townsville, Mackay, Brisbane and the Gold Coast;
  • Further building on defence force relationships, particularly building upon the Airport’s strong relationship with the Singapore Armed Forces;
  • Working with Central Highlands Regional Council in re-establishing the Central Queensland airport owners group to improve linkages west of the region and help Rockhampton service new and existing opportunities in support of the resource sector;
  • Overseeing the completion of the $7.1m airfield lighting project, which will see the
  • introduction of state-of-the-art LED technology at the airport;
  • Bringing the airport’s 20-year master-plan together by the end of the year;
  • Working with Central Highlands Regional Council and the Central Queensland airport/aerodrome owners group to improve linkages west of the region and help Rockhampton service new and existing opportunities; and
  • Consulting with the Airport’s stakeholders and General Aviation users on future development activity.

Mr Waters said Rockhampton was ideally positioned.

“We have an excellent and unique opportunity to be a key service point as the entry and gateway region for Northern Australia,” he said.

“That’s a really key component for the airport going forward and the re-branding of the Airport as – The Gateway to Northern Australia.

“The regional produce we have is absolutely fantastic and that will continue to grow into the future with greater access to water infrastructure.  As a result we’ve got an opportunity to be able to provide direct exports from not only our region, but to provide export opportunities for growers and primary producers, servicing a 400km radius from Rockhampton, with minimal to no changes in our infrastructure to achieve that.

“From an airport perspective, the only additional element required is the redevelopment of our current cargo facilities, which will be addressed in the Airport Master Planning process.

“We have fantastic infrastructure at the Rockhampton Airport by way of runway length and capability to accept the A380 aircraft type; this is coupled with and further enhanced by way of terminal size and future development potential, that leads to opportunity, growth and development, across the region.”

He said the council and previous airport management had done a great job.

“One of the key achievements of our airport is continuing to secure the full service airlines of Virgin Australia and QantasLink on the Brisbane route, as well as developing intra-Queensland direct services ” Mr Waters said.

“For us now, being a regional hub airport, the next step is about talking to the low-cost carrier airlines, not necessarily for the Brisbane route, but targeting direct services from Sydney and Melbourne.

“Attracting those services back to the airport will be extremely important for our growth across the region.”

Cr Strelow said Mr Waters brought immense experience to the role having previously driven the Whitsunday Coast Airport as its general manager as well as holding roles within the airline, government and tourism sectors.

“Scott’s appointment is a perfect match between our aspirations and his skills,” Cr Strelow said.

Rockhampton Regional Council’s Committee Chair of Airport Cr Neil Fisher said Mr Waters arrived at the right time for the airport.

“Scott enters Rockhampton Airport at a critical time as Rockhampton looks to the world as a staging point for future business opportunities and his skills and experience will complement our professional team,” Cr Fisher said.