Sharing resources leads to airport success

In two years Mount Gambier Airport has gone from being just another regional airport to an award winning facility that specialises in helping smaller council controlled airports with resource sharing and industry specific consulting.

The District Council of Grant, proud owners and operators of the Mount Gambier Airport, have always had a reputation for being a proactive and forward thinking council. When they employed a full-time compliance officer for the airport two years ago, the airport manager Ian Fritsch saw a great opportunity.

“Listening to other airports speak about the challenges they face, it became clear to myself and [airport compliance officer Paul McFarlane] there was much to be gained by sharing physical resources,” Mr Fritsch said.

“There is really no need for all of us to own our own equipment.  Particularly the equipment required when works are being conducted on the airport. Something that generally occurs infrequently.”

An informal group of council controlled airports across the western district of Victoria along with the South Australian District Council of Grant was formed, leading to strong partnerships between regional airports and councils. A great example of this is the work the District Council of Grant has done with Glenelg Shire Council in the town of Portland Victoria.

Mr Fritsch said they had worked closely with Portland Airport to help them take their facility to the next level.

“It has resulted with them winning a national Regional Airport of the Year award at this year’s Australian Airports Association national conference. We’re very proud of that.” 

Mount Gambier Airport continues the success story with a consulting division they’ve created to provide valuable assistance to other airports. 

Airport compliance officer Paul McFarlane said they were currently working with airports and their councils in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania and were talking with a number of councils in New South Wales and Queensland as well.

“Our service is a great cost effective way of ensuring ongoing compliance with the regulatory requirements of airport operation.  Our core business is operating our airport and as such we can provide these consultancy services at a more economical rate than a lot of other ‘specialists’ in the field.”

Mr McFarlane said it was a win/win situation with customer airports receiving a valuable service while the Mount Gambier Airport is exposed to other airport operations, learning alternatives and best practices which can be used back at their home base.

 “This side of our operation is growing and it’s pleasing to see that we are able to help other airports across the country.  It’s important to note that this success would not have been possible without the District Council of Grant encouraging creative and ‘outside the square’ thinking and we’re extremely lucky to have that.

For more information contact Airport Compliance Officer Paul McFarlane on 0407791909.