The Australian Capital Territory government has allocated $50,000 to conduct a feasibility study into developing a general aviation airport at Williamsdale, to Canberra’s south.
According to The Canberra Times, Canberra Region Aviators Association vice president Michael Monck said that such an airport would help to meet strong demand from recreational flyers in the ACT. “We’ve got somewhere in the order of 850 to 900 pilots, or people who hold some sort of aviation licence issued by Civil Aviation Safety Authority or Recreational Aviation Australia, and those guys are all sort of flying in and around Canberra,” he said.
The study comes as GA activity at Canberra Airport has been on the decline in recent years as the airport has raised rents on hangars and parking spaces for light aircraft, while increased airline traffic is leading to greater congestion of the airspace around the airport. The last flying school to be based at the airport, Brindabella Flight Training, recently closed itself to new students, leading to the loss of 14 instructors jobs.
Brindabella Airlines CEO Jeff Boyd said that the announcement of the study after the closure of the flying school was frustrating, as he had been lobbying the government for two years to examine a GA airport for the territory. “We’ve been pushing for a long time with people from Canberra to have another airport – basically we were told it was never going to happen,” he told the ABC.