Aviation boost from mines
GYMPIE is set to become a mining boom aviation hub, with a new charter airline aimed at linking the region's economy to the lucrative fly-in, fly-out mining sector.
But it will happen only if we want it, says the man behind the idea, Brisbane pilot, electrical engineer and entrepreneur Noel Davison.
He says the project is in planning stages and will need the support or at least the acceptance of the community.
Mr Davison says he wants his proposal to boost Gympie's tiny aviation industry.
Mr Davison also operates the business which takes customers on jet-powered "adventure flights" from Kybong once a month.
Noise complaints about the adventure flight business had prompted him to seek public support for the airline plan.
This, he said, would use piston-engine aircraft and was the main reason he would move his operation to Gympie.
Gympie aviation would receive a permanent employment and spending benefit from a proposed new charter airline based at Kybong, according to Mr Davison.
"We would be bringing infrastructure by securing airport land and building offices and hangars.
"We would want to employ local people, including pilots and ground crew and we would support training through apprenticeships.
"We would start off with the one plane, a Piper Chieftain, which is a small light twin-engine piston plane able to carry up to 10 passengers.
"Basically my commitment to the area is that I love it and the people of the Gympie area.
"It is a one-stop shop for aircraft maintenance and painting, using existing businesses.
"Everyone's friendly and we want to start a long-term relationship with Gympie by setting up buildings, running the charter airline and operating the jet rides on a monthly basis, as a tourist attraction and a promotion for Gympie.
"Because there has already been a noise complaint, we want to work with people around the airport - maybe change direction, or limit flights to one weekend a month.
"And we want to work in with other airport users.
"But the most important reason for me coming up to Gympie would be the establishment of the charter business."
His company, Flycom Rentals, would be based at Kybong but would in effect be based all over Australia, taking Gympie people to and from the mines or other destinations.
"Out of the tourism side and the adventure flights, there is the potential benefit of people staying for the weekend.
"We normally get about 20 people in for the day (not all of them flying) and we do five flights a day, one day a month," he told The Gympie Times.