Plans for the upgrade of the Merimbula Airport terminal building have received an initial nod of approval from a group of airport users who attended a meeting on Tuesday morning, September 19.
Architect Steve Turner, of STEA said the terminal would extend just past the airside gates and would include airport screening, a search room, upgraded staff room and the separation of incoming and departing passengers.
The aim is to do as little as possible to the existing building as the roof contains asbestos and ultimately it will have to be demolished. The idea is that the new section will sit behind the current building and will allow other sections to be added on either side as funds and need allow.
There are hopes that Qantas or Virgin can be enticed to put Merimbula on their routes but the use of Q400 aircraft require security screening and project manager Jenny Symons said that it was about being prepared for change.
“At the moment we have one provider, one very good provider, but it does make us vulnerable and this is about future proofing,” Ms Symons said.
Both Mr Turner and members of the airport users group pointed to the potential for sudden changes to screening for regional airports given the current security environment.
Screening will cost $900,000 but the money has been provided by the government. Council has received $1.2 million which must be matched by an equal amount.
An invitation to tender for the work is expected by Christmas with work to be finished by the end of 2018.