It’s supposed to be a main gateway to our region, an impressive entrance to all that Broken Hill offers but our council-owned city airport is not exactly wowing the people who are coming through its doors.
Hot on the heels of a decision by major airlines Rex and Qantas to cut flights to several destinations, coupled with a citywide Telstra mobile service outage which saw operations down at the airport being carried out manually, there are ongoing complaints from those seeking to use the car park, and a food kiosk closed since April.
One disgruntled traveller who recently went through its portals told us, “I’m at the airport and there’s no 3G or 4G out here which means the check ins must be done manually. The vending machine doesn’t work, and the kiosk has closed. It’s a poor look for the city’s airport.“
When our traveller was there, so there was no food, and no drinks on offer and a painfully slow check-in process.
While Broken Hill Council has been successful getting some government funding for improvements, mostly relating to runways and plane parking aprons, they have so far been unsuccessful in their lobbying for funding to allow Boeing 737s and other large charter aircrafts to regularly fly into the city.
Broken Hill City Council General Manager, Jay Nankivell, says funding for runway improvements go hand in hand with improvements to other areas of the facility.
“Although Council previously completed a significant upgrade of the airport kiosk and kitchen, there is arguably little value in spending ratepayer money on further short-term upgrades for the terminal when we’re currently seeking government funding to expand and upgrade the building in line with the increased security measures that will be required to receive larger aircraft,” he told us.
Compounding the problems at the facility is the issue with parking. People are being fined for parking at the curb when the main car park is full, and one reason it’s full is because of the number of hire cars.
While there is a flow over carpark, one of our readers told us it’s not a safe place to leave your car \
“There is no security, no footpaths and no signage as it was built for the first filming of the RFDS TV show,” our reader, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Truth.
“The Council needs to explain why there is no access to taxis, a bus or any other transportation given the current car park situation,” they say.
“Expecting people to walk in the rain and dirt to non-designated parking is dangerous and unnecessary.”
Our local has contacted Council but reports they believe have been ignored. They shared a screenshot of an email they sent to Council in December 2022 and say they have so far not received a reply.
“Those hire vehicles should have their own car park and not clog up the public car park,” our reader said.
We asked the Council, what exactly was going on with the car parking situation.
“Council is in constant discussions with hire car companies to try and ensure residential and commercial needs are met in the limited car parking at the airport,” said a Council spokesperson.
“We are currently developing a new Airport Master Plan, and part of the plan will involve new works to create additional parking.
“Although that document is still in development, Council has fast-tracked the parking component of the plan, and is hoping to begin works on new car parking in early 2024.
“In the meantime, we encourage all airport users, both residential and commercial, to observe all posted parking signage to avoid fines.”