A report on the future of SA's regional airports has found they face considerable long-term  challenges from changing industry and economic factors.


The report, was commissioned by the Local Government Association, the South East Local Government Association, Grant and Narracoorte Lucindale Councils and the SA Tourism Commission, and supported by all the Councils involved.


It recommends several strategies to secure the long term financial viability of regional airports.


LGA President, Mayor Kym McHugh, said concerns about the impact of new security requirements and associated costs and the likelihood of bigger aircraft using the facilities, plus ongoing financial responsibilities, created an environment in which a review of regional airports was a vital exercise.


"The Report recommends Councils look closely at sharing resources to help reduce costs and present a stronger case for support from other governments," he said.


"There are significant challenges ahead for Councils that own regional airports and that is why the LGA was happy to provide its support to facilitate this report, which independently confirmed the challenges Councils had recognised. The issues are now on the public record for our communities, other parties and our Councils to digest and consider. "


The Report's recommendations include:

  • The establishment of a joint Local Government regional airport management entity
  • Consideration of commercialisation
  • Preparation of a strategy and business cases
  • Looking at state-wide funding applications
  • Research to understand new industry trends

"This is a first and important step in establishing a blueprint to guide the sustainable management of airports under Council control. Regional airports provide an important range of functions including transporting people to major centres for medical, educational and other services, general travel, business, tourism and emergency services."


"Ultimately, final decisions must rest with Councils which own airports and their communities," he said.


Mayor McHugh said the LGA will assist with running a forum later this year for Councils to discuss the report's recommendations and map out a plan for the future.


The report is available here.