OUR SAY: Cost of no airport at all a greater loss
THERE is a fine line in the debate about whether the Grafton Airport is a sustainable operation.
Despite small but regular increases in the passenger numbers, the airport is still an economic burden upon Clarence Valley Council, and by proxy its ratepayers.
It's a classic catch-22. Council receives a passenger levy for people flying from Grafton but not for those arriving from Lismore.
Grafton passenger numbers are restricted by those who board the plane in Lismore and airline operator Rex maintains the route is unsustainable without the Lismore passengers.
According to the numbers it appears the only course of action is to close the airport but as stated at the recent council committee meeting, that brings a set of problems.
Grafton without an airport potentially becomes isolated from the metropolitan areas.
State Government, public service and even local businesses currently have a direct same-day connection to Sydney. No airport may result in that business infrastructure leaving town.
So what's the solution? Use it or lose it.
I'm not at my most comfortable on a plane but I do find the smaller planes that fly out of Grafton are actually some of the more enjoyable to fly on.
And while it may appear to cost a bit more to fly from Grafton, when you factor in car expenses to travel to and from neighbouring airports, it may well be more economical as well as more convenient to fly from here.
Book early and book often and you may encourage those that just look at the numbers to think about the greater cost to the community.