New Valley airport set for take-off

THE Lockyer Valley Regional Airport remains on track to open by the end of the year.

Developer VNE Aviation is expecting to call for tenders in the coming months.

Airport director Randal McFarlane said the airport, to be located near Lake Clarendon, was on track, with preliminary work well under way.

"Detailed survey work has commenced at the airport in line with detailed engineering activities," he said.

"We are hopeful of going out to tender for construction within the next 60 to 90 days subject to council approvals."

Mr McFarlane said community interest from the Lockyer Valley in the ongoing development of the airport remained high.

"The level of interest from users has been very high and we look forward to delivering a first-class facility to the region," he said.

"We're hopeful we might have the first bird on the block by the end of the year, weather permitting."

While the airport will initially be used for private flights, Mr McFarlane has previously said he hopes the facility will eventually see use from commercial aircraft.

"We've had good support from the industry," he said.

"We've got people waiting on us. It's almost a case of build it and they will come."

One of the key features of the airport will be an emergency helicopter landing pad to allow for bushfire and flood response.

Mr McFarlane said development of the pad was also well on track.

"On another subject, the provision of the helicopter rescue centre is moving forward and we hope to be able to finalise a completion date within the next few weeks," he said.

Mr McFarlane said the airport was considering calling for community input into naming of the pad.

He said he was thinking of holding a contest to name the facility as a means "to recognise the efforts of a citizen or group from the area".

Mr McFarlane thought recently re-elected Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones could be a worthy candidate for the facility to be named after but wanted to make sure the community was behind any decision made.

High-flying Facts

The Lockyer Valley Regional Airport will be located near Lake Clarendon in the region's north.

It will be one of the few airports in the country to feature freehold hangers.

The Lockyer Valley is currently without an airport after the closure of an air strip at UQ Gatton.

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